Invasive Plant Program catches on
In only its second year of operation, the Neighbourhood Invasive Plant Program (NIPP) is quickly picking up steam.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in applications to the program and the amount of financial assistance provided in 2011,” explains Marty Hafke, coordinator for the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council (EKIPC).
Administered jointly by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) and EKIPC, the Neighbourhood Invasive Plant Program provides local landholders with the guidance, resources and financial support necessary to manage invasive plants on private lands. While the program is available throughout the East Kootenay, additional resources are allocated to the Columbia Valley because of funding provided by the RDEK’s Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund. Other partners and funders include the RDEK, EKIPC, Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund and the Windermere and District Farmers Institute.
“The RDEK has taken a proactive approach to invasive plant control for many years and being involved in this program is an extension of our commitment to support residents in identifying and battling invasive plants on their lands,” says RDEK Columbia Valley Directors Committee Chair Gerry Taft.
The most popular component of the program is the financial rebates that eligible landowners can receive. “Most often, a landowner will hire a contractor to treat a high priority invasive plant like Spotted Knapweed on their property. If they’ve applied and been pre-approved for the program, they receive a reimbursement for the work,” explains Hafke.
In 2011, the program received 17 applicants from the Columbia Valley and provided over $14,000 in rebates for landowners to control invasive plants on their property.
“It’s a fairly straightforward process and one that helps landowners like me restore the ecological, social and economic values of our land and the land base as a whole” says Rick Thompson, an Area G resident who applied to the program in 2011. “I have been battling Leafy Spurge (pictured above) on my land for years and it’s nice to know that there is a program like this available to support my efforts” explains Thompson.
Since 2010, over $18,000.00 has been spent on chemically or mechanically treating priority invasive plant species on private property in the Columbia Valley.
“Without this program, that number would have been substantially less and we would not see the level of awareness that many landowners now have with respect to invasive plants” states Hafke. “We are very appreciative of the contributions all of our program partners and funders have made in the past two years”.
Under the BC Weed Control Act and Regulations, all private landholders in the province have a legal obligation to control over 40 identified invasive plant species.
The Neighbourhood Invasive Plant Program is expected to continue in 2012. For more information contact EKIPC at 888-55-EKIPC or visit their website at www.ekipc.com.