The Government of British Columbia is providing $7.7 million in grants to help manage the spread of invasive plants in British Columbia, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced today.
The grants are part of a multi-year funding program that will see the money distributed to 34 regional invasive species organizations, local governments, environmental groups and researchers, as well as the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.
“Our government is committed to containing or eradicating harmful invasive plants that adversely affect both rural and urban communities,” said Donaldson. “The introduction of multi-year grants will help recipients develop effective, long-term plans to manage invasive plants at the regional level.”
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.
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.
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. 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.
“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 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.