KELOWNA– The provincial government is providing $13,000 to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, to help control the spread of invasive plants.

This is one of 29 grants totalling $1,702,000 that are being distributed province-wide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“It’s important we get a handle on invasive plants before they 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 achieve that goal.”

“The Regional District of the Central Okanagan does a great job of monitoring and addressing issues with invasive species,” says Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “This $13,000 grant will help them continue their work to keep our community healthy and beautiful.”

“With these grants, we’re taking further action to ensure the lands and waters we love are protected,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “We live in a beautiful part of the province, and measures to combat invasive species will make sure future generations enjoy it as much as we do.”

The funding will be invested in activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these 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 disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.

To learn more Invasive Plant Program, visit: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm.