The B.C. government has proclaimed June 2015 to be “Invasive Species Action Month” to raise awareness of the environmental and economic damage that invasive plants and animals can cause if they become established in British Columbia.
As part of Invasive Species Action Month, the government is encouraging British Columbians to learn more about non-native plants and animals that can damage the province’s ecosystems. For example, they can get directly involved by downloading the free “Report-a-Weed” app for iPhones or Android smartphones. Its easy-to-use interface allows users to submit reports on invasive plant sightings anywhere in B.C., upload photos of suspicious plants they find and also view previously recorded sightings: http://www.reportaweedbc.ca/
The government works closely with the Invasive Species Council of B.C., regional districts, municipalities and community-based organizations throughout the province to help prevent the introduction and spread of harmful, non-native plants and animals. It also provides ongoing financial assistance to support the work of invasive species groups, including mapping invasive species populations and treating high-priority sites to remove them.
On April 17, 2015, the B.C. government announced another $1.7 million for its annual invasive plant grants. The money is being distributed to 29 regional districts, municipalities and invasive species organizations to combat the spread of harmful plants. This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16, and the $1.3 million allocated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure this year.
On March 31, 2015, the government expanded its response to the potential introduction of invasive zebra and quagga mussels with a $1.3-million program focused on early detection and rapid response. Although live specimens of these mussels have never been detected in British Columbia, this program will boost protection for B.C.’s waterways with:
- Three mobile boat decontamination units.
- Six specially trained auxiliary conservation officers.
- 24 new highway signs to be prominently displayed at key entry points to B.C.
- Increased monitoring for zebra and quagga mussels.
- The ability to report suspected invasive mussels to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline.
- Enhanced public education and outreach activities for the “Clean Drain Dry” boat-cleaning protocol.
Donna Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for Rural Development, and MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin -
“The proclamation of Invasive Species Action Month is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about invasive species and the damage they can do. I encourage British Columbians to get involved by reviewing the Clean, Drain, Dry procedures and by trying the Report-A-Weed app.”
Minister of Environment Mary Polak -
“Everyone in B.C. has a stake in protecting our environment. A big part of that goal is preventing the spread of harmful invasive species. During the month of June, we congratulate our community partners for the work they’ve done to safeguard important ecosystems throughout the province.”
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone -
“You will see the ministry’s efforts while travelling on the highway system: watch for roadside crews helping to control the spread of invasive plants. I encourage the public to join in by getting involved in your local invasive species council or participating in the ministry’s Adopt a Highway program.”
Barry Gibbs, chair, Invasive Species Council of British Columbia -
“One of the goals of Invasive Species Action Month is to remind British Columbians about the importance of taking action and responsibility to reduce the spread of invasive plants and animals. Individuals, communities and businesses all have a role to play. We will continue to work with the B.C. government, regional invasive species committees, industry and community groups to limit the environmental and economic damage that these species cause.”
- The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where new invasive plant species have been found and responds quickly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.
- Some invasive species found in B.C. that are currently a concern are European fire ants; impressive fire ants; American bullfrogs; eastern grey squirrels; New Zealand mud snails; Japanese, giant and bohemian knotweeds; giant hogweed; European common reed; Spartina.
- Other targeted invasive plant species include: marsh plume thistle; spotted knapweed; garlic mustard; blueweed; common tansy; tansy ragwort; hoary alyssum; field scabious; leafy spurge; yellow flag iris; Himalayan balsam; orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds.
The proclamation can be viewed online: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/OIC_CUR/InvasiveSpeciesActionMonth2015
Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/HRA/invasive-species/index.htm
Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: http://www.bcinvasives.ca
Clean Drain Dry program: http://bcinvasives.ca/resources/programs/clean-drain-dry
Adopt a Highway program: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/adopt-a-hwy/index.htmlhttps://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/posts/1001867613164864:0