Invasive species battle gets boost

Giant hogweed is one of the species the Invasive Species Council of B.C. is fighting. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

Giant hogweed is one of the species the Invasive Species Council of B.C. is fighting. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

The city’s battle against the spread of invasive plants has received a $7,000 boost from the provincial government.

The funding is part of 29 grants, totalling $1,702,000, that are being distributed provincewide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“These species can cause a great deal of harm to natural resource-based sectors, including forestry, agriculture and aquaculture,” said Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat. “This funding will go a long way to help the City of Richmond manage the spread of invasive species.”

The funding will go towards activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these plants.

Invasive plants are species that are not native to British Columbia and originate from other areas. They disrupt the region by displacing native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some, such as giant hogweed, 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.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.

To learn more about the Invasive Plant Program, visit: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm.

Originally published in the Apr. 22, 2015 issue.

Story can also be viewed here: http://bcinvasives.ca/news-events/recent-highlights/invasive-species-battle-gets-boost-in-richmond/

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About eboe00

Erin Boe is a journalism student at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.
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