The Government of British Columbia is providing $1,134,500 in grants to help manage the spread of invasive plants in the Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap regions, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall and Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy announced on behalf of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson.
The grants are part of a multi-year funding program that will see more than $7.7 million distributed provincewide to 34 regional invasive species organizations, local governments, environmental groups and researchers, as well as the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.
“This funding is great news for communities and local groups that have been working together over many years to manage invasive species,” said Mungall. “It is critical that we continue to develop and implement long-term plans to prevent, detect and control the spread of harmful non-native plants.”
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 their spread.
The recipients of invasive plant grants in the Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap regions are:
- Boundary Invasive Species Society: $62,000 over two years
- Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society: $130,000 over two years
- Regional District of East Kootenay: $69,000 over three years
- Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary: $127,500 over three years
- East Kootenay Invasive Species Council: $678,900 over three years
- Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society: $26,600 over two years
- Columbia-Shuswap Regional District: $40,500 over three years
Instead of providing grants on a year-to-year basis, as was done in the past, the recipients will receive stable, multi-year funding up front for periods up to three years. This money will assist with their ongoing efforts to control the spread of unwelcome plants and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.
“The damage that non-native plants can do to our ecosystems and rural economies is significant,” said Conroy. “Invasive plants can negatively affect our communities and agriculture industry.”
Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from areas outside of the province. They can displace native vegetation, cause substantial economic and environmental damage, and potentially pose a health risk to animals and people. Invasive plants disrupt ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.
Regional invasive species organizations are non-profit societies that provide a forum for land managers and other stakeholders to co-ordinate treatments and participate in outreach and educational opportunities.
“These grants will help local governments and organizations protect the environment and minimize the damage that invasive plants have on communities and land-based industries, such as agriculture and ranching,” said Donaldson. “This funding is a crucial investment in their future and their economic success.”
The Invasive Species Council of B.C. 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.
“The Invasive Species Council of B.C. and its partners are pleased with the Province’s increased investment to prevent the spread of invasive plants,” said Invasive Species Council of B.C. chair Brian Heise. “Its support for invasive plant management throughout the province helps recipients in both urban and rural communities co-ordinate their efforts and work together to protect British Columbia’s natural landscapes.”
- The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds appropriately to help contain and eradicate them before they become established in B.C.
- Some of the targeted invasive plant species in B.C. are flowering rush, Spartina species, knotweeds, marsh plume thistle, common tansy, European common reed, wild chervil, garlic mustard, poison hemlock, spotted knapweed, Anchusa, orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds, giant hogweed, blueweed, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, 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: 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