The B.C. government is distributing over $1.7 million in new grants to help control the spread of invasive plants in the province, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and Parliamentary Secretary Donna Barnett announced today.
The 31 grants will be given to regional invasive species committees, local governments and the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia to support their efforts and the goals of the provincial Invasive Plant Program. This funding is additional to the $935,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the $2.1 million allocated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for invasive plant control and management in 2016-17.
Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from other areas. They displace native vegetation, can cause significant economic and environmental damage, and may pose health risks to people and animals. Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.
The Invasive Species Council of B.C., regional invasive species committees, local governments, government ministries and other stakeholders work together to raise awareness of invasive plant concerns, identify and map invasive plant populations, and treat high-priority sites to control the spread of these harmful plants.
The Invasive Species Council of B.C., based in Williams Lake, assists with invasive species program co-ordination and communications, develops best management practices in collaboration with local agencies, and helps increase public awareness and reporting of invasive species throughout the province.
Regional invasive species committees are non-profit societies that provide a forum for land managers and other stakeholders to co-ordinate invasive plant treatments and participate in outreach and educational opportunities. There are currently 13 regional invasive species committees in B.C.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson –
“The 2016 invasive plant grant program represents our government’s ongoing commitment to the control or eradication of harmful invasive plants in British Columbia. This funding supports the great work being done by local governments and regional weed committees to help protect landscape values and our ranching and agriculture industries.”
Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for Rural Development –
“Many people who live in rural areas of B.C. depend on ranching, agriculture and the natural resource sector for their economic well-being. The control of harmful invasive plants is a crucial part of our government’s support for those industries, and the grants announced today represent a significant investment in these communities.”
Brian Heise, chair of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia –
“Support from the B.C. government is crucial to efforts by the Invasive Species Council of B.C., our partners and other groups to prevent invasive species damaging our communities. We value this financial support for our council, our partners and others — such as aboriginal groups and schools — that are actively engaged in managing invasive species in our province. Together, we can advance the Invasive Species Strategy for B.C. and work to control the spread of invasive species.”
- The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found in B.C. and responds quickly to help contain and eradicate them before they become established.
- Currently, some of the targeted invasive plant species in B.C. are marsh plume thistle, European common reed, garlic mustard, knotweed, Spartina, orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds, knapweed, giant hogweed, blueweed, common tansy, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, Himalayan balsam and Scotch broom.
- Members of the public can report sightings of invasive species anywhere in B.C. by using the Report-A-Weed smartphone app, by calling 1 888 WEEDSBC (1 888 933-3722) or by using the online reporting tool at: http://www.reportaweedbc.ca
Invasive Plant Program: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm
B.C. Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/index.htm
Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: www.bcinvasives.ca