The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations plan to treat two aquatic areas in the Lower Mainland to eliminate invasive intertidal cordgrasses (Spartina spp.).
The herbicides Habitat and Rodeo and the surfactant Ag-Surf II will be applied by handheld, backpack and/or hand pump sprayers starting Aug. 19. The spraying will occur at low tide in Boundary Bay and Roberts Bank.
Each site will receive one treatment within a seven-day period (weather permitting), and spraying will be restricted to infestations on cobble beaches, salt marshes and intertidal mudflats. Follow-up treatments to cover any missed plants will occur in September.
Eight to 12 people will be involved in the treatment process, including staff from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, experienced herbicide treatment contractors and representatives from the Stó:lo and Tsawwassen First Nations. Washington State officials will also be on-site to provide technical advice and the use of their airboats to enable better access to the treatment sites.
All targeted cordgrass plants have been located using GPS and flagged. Monitoring plots will be established prior to treatment to ensure quick and efficient completion of the program.
Intertidal cordgrasses are provincially designated noxious weeds under B.C.'s Weed Control Act. Invasive cordgrasses can convert coastal mudflats into large patches or solid stands of dense grass. This type of growth results in severe habitat loss for shorebirds, waterfowl, shellfish and fish, and can increase the risk of flooding due to the accumulation of sediments and changes to drainage patterns.
This is the first time that registered herbicides have been used to control cordgrasses in Canada. However, the same herbicide combination has been used successfully in Washington State to reduce cordgrass infestations in the same type of aquatic habitat. These herbicide treatments will assist the B.C. Spartina Working Group's ongoing efforts to remove cordgrasses from this type of ecosystem.
The B.C. Spartina Working Group is a government and community partnership that works to eradicate non-native, invasive cordgrass species along the B.C. coast. Participating agencies include: Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Ministry of Environment, Ducks Unlimited Canada, City of Surrey, Corporation of Delta, Metro Vancouver, Coastal Invasive Species Committee, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Community Mapping Network, Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver, Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service), Friends of Semiahmoo Bay, Ladner Rotary Club and Port Metro Vancouver.
The proposed herbicide treatment plan was made available for public review and comment from March to mid-July 2013. No submissions opposing the plan were received.
A copy of the Pesticide Use Permit and maps of the treatment areas are available for viewing online at: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/Plants/pmp.htm
Ministry of Environment