Purple loosestrife is a common invasive plant found in the South Okanagan. Photo courtesy of RDOS.bc.ca

Funding to help fight invasive plants in the Okanagan

B.C. government providing $107,300 to three organizations to help manage invasive plants

The B.C. government is providing $107,300 to three organizations to help manage invasive plants in the southern Okanagan.

“Anyone who works in the agricultural sector can tell you that invasive plants have to be dealt with as quickly as possible before they establish themselves. They can destroy natural ecosystems and take away jobs if we do not halt them directly,” said Penticton MLA Dan Ashton, who made the announcement on Wednesday.

The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society will receive $81,300, Regional District of Central Okanagan will receive $13,500 and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will receive $12,500.

The money 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.

“We are committed to supporting local governments and regional weed committees in their efforts to control or eradicate harmful invasive plants in British Columbia. The $1.8 million worth of grants being distributed this year will help protect important landscape values and assist our ranching and agriculture industries,” said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.

Currently, some of the targeted invasive plant species in B.C. are flowering rush, Spartina, knotweeds, marsh plume thistle, common tansy, European common reed, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, Anchusa, orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds, giant hogweed, blueweed, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, sulphur cinquefoil and Scotch broom. See more about these plants by clicking here.

Thirty-one grants, totalling $1.8 million, are being distributed throughout the province in 2017 to local governments, regional invasive species committees, environmental organizations and the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia. This funding will assist with their ongoing activities and also support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

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) and others are toxic to animals.

Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

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