The B.C. government is providing $107,300 to three organizations to help manage invasive plants in the southern Okanagan, Penticton MLA Dan Ashton announced today.
- Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society: $81,300
- Regional District of Central Okanagan: $13,500
- Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen: $12,500
Thirty-one grants, totalling $1.8 million, are being distributed throughout the province in 2017 to local governments, regional invasive species committees, environmental organizations and the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia. This funding will assist with their ongoing activities and also support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.
The money will be used to help raise public awareness of invasive plant concerns, survey invasive plant populations and actively treat high-priority sites to control the spread of these destructive plants.
Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from other areas. They displace native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some pose a health risk to people (e.g., skin irritation) and others are toxic to animals.
Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.
The B.C. government’s annual invasive plant grant program builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy, which are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to the provincial GDP.
As part of Balanced Budget 2017, government is providing $10 million in 2017-18 to support new land management initiatives throughout B.C., including range fencing repairs and multi-year invasive plant management projects with partners such as regional weed committees, the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association and Ducks Unlimited.
Providing leadership for invasive plant management is one of the ways that the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities.
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton –
“Anyone who works in the agricultural sector can tell you that invasive plants have to be dealt with as quickly as possible before they establish themselves. They can destroy natural ecosystems and take away jobs if we do not halt them directly.”
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson –
“We are committed to supporting local governments and regional weed committees in their efforts to control or eradicate harmful invasive plants in British Columbia. The $1.8 million worth of grants being distributed this year will help protect important landscape values and assist our ranching and agriculture industries.”
- The provincial Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where new invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.
- Currently, some of the targeted invasive plant species in B.C. are flowering rush, Spartina, knotweeds, marsh plume thistle, common tansy, European common reed, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, Anchusa, orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds, giant hogweed, blueweed, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, sulphur cinquefoil and Scotch broom.
B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
Invasive Plant Program: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm
B.C. Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/index.htm
Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: http://www.bcinvasives.ca