The B.C. government is handing out over $1.8 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 Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett announced today.
The 31 grants are being distributed to regional invasive species committees, local governments and the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia to support their ongoing work to deal with the unwelcome plants and to support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.
Over the next three years, the B.C. government is committing over $20 million to invasive plant management.
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 a health risk to people and animals. Invasive plants can disrupt ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.
The Invasive Species Council of British Columbia, regional invasive species committees, local governments, provincial government ministries and other stakeholders work closely together to raise awareness of invasive plants, identify and map them, 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 provincewide.
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.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The annual invasive plant grants that the B.C. government provides reflect its commitment to containing or eradicating harmful invasive plants throughout the province. This money will once again support the efforts of local governments and regional weed committees to protect the agriculture and ranching industries.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“The economic well-being of British Columbia’s rural communities is often closely intertwined with ranching and agricultural activities. The B.C. government’s annual invasive plant grants represent a significant investment in those communities and their future success.”
Brian Heise, chair of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia –
“The government’s support for the Invasive Species Council of B.C. and its many local partners plays a critical role in developing effective communications strategies and co-ordinating operations. Local governments, First Nations, regional committees, community volunteers, the B.C. government and the ISCBC all work together to help protect our landscapes and communities from 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 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.
- 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 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
A backgrounder follows.