I went to high school near a coastal dune system on the East coast, the beach grass was revered as keystone to that system. When I moved here I assumed that same reverence for the local beach grass. It was only recently that I learned that it was both non-native and considered by many to be invasive, out-competing many native species— therefore lowering local species diversity and reducing habitat for arthropods.
The European beach grass has fundamentally changed the topography of this beach ecosystem turning it into dunes that look familiar to me —it is hard to imagine this beach without it, I see the landscape in my minds eye without it- the sand just pouring over Great Highway, which in the days before the beach grass was planted, of course, did not exist.
How my personal exchanges with this plant have changed since I learned this is startling and problematic to me.