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Region gets funds to continue battle against invasive plantsPosted: May 23, 2012

The East Kootenay is getting 13% of a $1.7 million provincial government allocation to efforts to control the spread of invasive plants, announced B.C. grants over $1.7 million to fight invasive plants announced Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson today (May 23).

The East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council is getting $193,500 and the Regional District of East Kootenay $23,300, the provincial ministry reported,

A total of 28 grants are being given to local governments, Regional Weed Committees and the Invasive Species Council of BC to assist their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program. This funding is in addition to the $714,000 already earmarked by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2012-13.

“The B.C. government is committed to preserving wildlife habitat and protecting the interests of B.C.’s ranching and agriculture industries.

When invasive plant species put those values at risk, we must take decisive action to deal with that threat. The grants that the government announced today will go a long way to support this important work,” Thomson stated in a news release.

Minister of Environment Terry Lake added: “This program demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to protecting our natural environment. Regional districts, regional weed committee volunteers and other members of the public play a vital role in controlling the spread of invasive plants in B.C. and the new funding recognizes their outstanding contributions.”

Regional weed committees, the Invasive Species Council of BC, local governments, provincial government ministries and stakeholders work together to raise public awareness, survey invasive plant populations and actively treat high-priority invasive plant sites to control their spread. Funding has also been granted to the Invasive Species Council of BC for provincial collaboration, co-ordination and communication, as well as establishing best management practices for invasive plants.

Regional weed committees serve as forums for land managers and other stakeholders to co-ordinate treatment activities and participate in outreach and educational opportunities. There are 12 regional weed committees around the province. The Invasive Species Council of BC is based in Williams Lake.

Invasive plants are not native to a particular ecosystem and have the potential to displace long-established species and can cause considerable economic or environmental damage. They may disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

“The ministry’s contribution for invasive plant coordination is critical not only to our council, but to the many regional committees across B.C. All of us are working to strengthen key partnerships that result in less invasive species being introduced to local environments. By stopping the spread, we reduce future ongoing management costs and resource losses and help protect our natural landscapes. Reducing the spread of invasive plants and species cannot be achieved by a single agency – we all need to work together,” said Tom Wells, chair of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.

Some of the most intrusive plants in B.C. currently are orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds (pictured above), garlic mustard, cordgrasses and knotweed.

Other targeted species include knapweed, giant hogweed, black henbane, blueweed, common tansy, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, Himalayan balsam and Scotch broom.

Summary of Invasive Plant Program grant distribution

* Boundary Weed Management Committee $37,600

* Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee $36,500

* Cariboo Regional District $83,000

* Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committee $49,500

* City of Richmond $5,000

* Coastal Invasive Plant Committee $59,400

* Columbia Shuswap Regional District $22,200

* Comox Valley Regional District $10,500

* East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council $193,500

* Fraser Valley Invasive Plant Council $39,300

* Fraser Valley Regional District $24,300

* Invasive Plant Council of Metro Vancouver $21,900

* Invasive Species Council of B.C. $140,000

* Lillooet Region Invasive Species Society $38,600

* Municipality of North Cowichan $5,000

* Northern Rockies Regional Municipality $61,200

* Northwest Invasive Plant Council $295,000

* Peace River Regional District $235,000

* Regional District of Central Okanagan $15,500

* Regional District of East Kootenay $23,300

* Regional District of Kootenay Boundary 47,300

* Regional District of North Okanagan $30,000

* Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen $15,000

* Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council $28,300

* South Okanagan Similkameen Invasive Plant Society $66,300

* Southern Interior Weed Management Committee $114,800

* The Corporation of Delta $5,000

* Thompson-Nicola Regional District $24,000

Total amount of grants: $1,727,000.

e-KNOW

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