Grants assist with invasive plant programs

A couple of local organizations will be benefitting from grants from the government to help control the spread of invasive plants.

Andrew Simmons works to remove yellow-flag iris.

A couple of local organizations will be benefitting from grants from the provincial government to help control the spread of invasive plants.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) received a grant for $41,500, while Boundary Invasive Species Society (BISS) received $32,800.

The grants were two of 29, totaling $1,702,000, distributed province-wide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of BC to assist with the activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“Containing and preventing the spread of invasive species is important to protecting our natural environment,” said Linda Larson, Boundary-Similkameen MLA. “This funding recognizes all the hard work done by the society and will help them over forward with their work on invasive 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.

Barb Stewart, coordinator of Boundary Invasive Species Society (BISS), said the grant will be used for general coordination activities as well as on-ground treatment on Crown land.

Stewart said BISS will work together with the RDKB on the program, which covers property in areas C (Christina Lake), D (Rural Grand Forks) and E (West Boundary).

“There are priority species of concern,” she said. “One of those being targeted is common bugloss. Most of those are out in the West Boundary on Crown land. That is a plant being spread, we believe, to some degree, by logging.”

Stewart said most of the work will done by herbicide treatment along with some manual pulling.