KELOWNA – The provincial government is providing $13,500 to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan to help control the spread of invasive plants.
This is one of 31 grants, totalling $1,727,000, that are being distributed throughout the province in 2016 to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. This funding will assist with these groups’ ongoing activities and also support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.
“Invasive plants can cause tremendous harm to our environment and the people who enjoy it,” says Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “This grant will help the Regional District of the Central Okanagan continue to monitor and address any concerns.”
“We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the province,” says Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “This $13,500 grant will help us combat invasive species and keep our community healthy and thriving for years to come.”
“We have a responsibility to protect our lands and waters for future – to leave our province as magnificent and pristine as we found it,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “These funds will help prevent the ecological and economic damage that invasive plants can cause.”
The grants 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). Invasive plants can also disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.
This funding is in addition to the $935,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2016-17.
- 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 marsh plume thistle, European common reed, garlic mustard, knotweed, Spartina, orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds, knapweed, giant hogweed, blueweed, common tansy, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, Himalayan balsam and Scotch broom.
- 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