While often mistaken for wildflowers, invasive plants —any invasive alien plant species that has the potential to pose undesirable or detrimental impacts on humans, animals or ecosystems— are spreading through our natural ecosystems, urban landscapes, and agricultural lands at an alarming rate.
But what defines an invasive plant? The Invasive Plant Council of BC defines the term “invasive plant” as any alien plant species that has the potential to pose undesirable or detrimental impacts on humans, animals or ecosystems. Invasive plants have the capacity to establish quickly and easily on both disturbed and un-disturbed sites, and can cause widespread negative economic, social, and environmental impacts.
In 2000 (updated in 2004), the World Conservation Union collaboratively published a booklet identifying 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species, four of which currently exist in British Columbia: gorse, Japanese knotweed, leafy spurge and purple loose strife (see below).
Recently, the provincial government announced it was funding the Invasive Plant Council of BC with $3 million to create a new employment program, called Take Action, that will train and hire up to 150 people to help prevent and reduce the spread of invasive plants around the province.
In April, the City of Powell River council and The Powell River Regional District (PRRD) board voted to give the non-profit society Coastal Invasive Plant Committee (CIPC) a total of $5,000. The funds will be used for its proposed 2011 inventory and treatment work plan. CIPC partners on the Sunshine Coast include the ministry of transportation and infrastructure, BC Hydro and Fortis BC.
Powell River funds will go toward management activities in the region. For example, there are tansy ragwort sites, on Texada Island, that are adjacent to high value agricultural lands. As well, giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed sites treated by CIPC crews in 2010 need to be re-treated, as well as new or untreated sites. Crews will also remove butterfly bushes which are growing along roadsides and next to waterways and gorse, Scotch broom and English ivy in high value natural areas.
With the funding, the council will work with the province’s 12 regional weed committees to place local, multi-person teams around BC. The teams will be trained to undertake work identified as critical and specific to their local area. Please keep an eye out for work in this field through Career Link’s website and by subscribing to our free emailed job alerts.
Video on invasive Giant Hogweeed:
Powell River Peak article:
General information re: invasive species in BC:
Information on Japanese knotweed: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/jknotweed.htm
About invasive plants: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/invasiveplant/index.html
BC’s Weed Control Act: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/noxious.htm
South Coast integrated pest management plan: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/invasiveplant/documents/Pest_Management_Plan_Backgrounder_South_Mainland_Coast.pdf
Information on the invasive plants in our region (PDF) : http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/invasiveplant/documents/Pest_Management_Plan_Multi-Agency_South_Coast_Vancouver_Island.pdf