Under the BC Rural Dividend Program, the Government of British Columbia is providing $100,000 to the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC), Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, announced today.
“The rural dividend is just one aspect of our rural-development mandate committed to making rural communities more resilient,” said Donaldson. “The Invasive Species Council will build community engagement and capacity, by dealing with priority invasive plant species on Indigenous lands in the Cariboo and Thompson-Nicola regions that were severely impacted by last summer’s wildfires.”
Invasive species not naturally found in B.C. can move very quickly into new areas, such as those burned by the wildfires, creating environmental and economic damage. The ISCBC will provide support and resources so six Indigenous communities can create invasive plant management plans, and execute one project from each plan.
The communities are Soda Creek Indian Band, Simpcw First Nation, Williams Lake Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Canim Lake Band and Esketemc First Nation.
“The rural dividend funding means we can work with the Indigenous liaison and economic development co-ordinator in each community to identify ways to control and manage invasive plants, and avoid negative impacts on the economy, environment and society,” said Gail Wallin, ISCBC executive director. “The economic losses related to agriculture, forestry and recreation can be as significant as those caused by wildfires, and they are often irreversible.”
During the fourth intake, applications for rural dividend funding from wildfire impacted areas were prioritized for review.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of British Columbia committed to extending the $25 million-per-year rural dividend to 2020-21.