With $3 million in funding provided by the Province of British Columbia, the Invasive Plant Council of BC will create a new employment program - called Take Action - that will train and hire up to 150 people to help prevent and reduce the spread of invasive plants around B.C., Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
With this funding, the Invasive Plant Council of BC will work with the province's 12 Regional Weed Committees to place local, multi-person Take Action Teams around the province. The teams will be trained to undertake work identified as critical and specific to their local area, such as:
* Working with key community groups to reduce the introduction and spread of new invasive plants.
* Identifying and inventorying priority invasive plants in the immediate and surrounding communities.
* Immediately and quickly removing newly introduced invasive plants.
* Monitoring changes in public awareness and behaviours to reduce the introduction of invasive species.
The Invasive Plant Council of BC will also partner with the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC to help protect sensitive grassland ecosystems threatened by invasive plants.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations:
"The term 'invasive plant' may sound like something from outer space or something that doesn't impact people. But, invasive plants negatively affect rangelands, forests, recreation opportunities and water quality and quantity. This funding will help reduce the spread and impact of invasive plants while providing jobs around the province."
Barry Gibbs, board of directors vice-chair, Invasive Plant Council of BC:
"The council thanks B.C. for being the initial funder that will create jobs for families across the province while building stronger communities. Often referred to as 'living pollution spread by people', invasive plants - or weeds - usually spread quietly and unrecognized to new areas. By working together, people can Take Action to stop the spread to new landscapes and reduce the economic losses. The council is currently working with the federal government to partner on this important project for B.C. communities and families."
An invasive plant is not a weed. A weed is thought of as an unwanted plant in a given area, such as a vegetable garden or lawn. An invasive plant is a non-native plant that has been introduced, either intentionally or accidentally, from other areas. Invasive plants:
* Harm the environment by out-competing native plants, altering ecosystems and creating an increased wildfire hazard.
* Affect human health by causing skin irritation, blisters, scarring and severe breathing problems; impact animal health via toxins in some plants that make them inedible or toxic.
* Harm the economy by negatively impacting property and crop values and increasing costs associated with treating infestations on rangelands, gardens, parks or along roadsides.
* Impede recreation by making trails impassable, damaging fishing streams and puncturing tires.
Identify invasive plants in your area, learn about their negative impacts and find out what you can do to manage them at http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/invasive-plants/invasive-plant-watch
The Invasive Plant Council of BC brings people and groups together to reduce the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction and spread of invasive plants. Find out more at http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/
There are 12 Regional Weed Committees in B.C. that work on invasive plant management. Locate your local committee on this interactive map http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/committees/regional-committees
Grasslands are a sensitive ecosystem threatened by invasive plants. The Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia is one of the groups committed to the conservation and stewardship of B.C.'s grasslands http://www.bcgrasslands.org/about.htm
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Invasive Plant Council of BC
Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect