$$ To Fight Plants

The Government of British Columbia is providing $7.7 million in grants to help manage the spread of invasive plants in British Columbia.

The grants will see the money distributed to 34 regional invasive species organizations, local governments, environmental groups and researchers, as well as the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.

The Okanagan recipients are:

* Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society: $162,600 over two years

* Regional District of Central Okanagan: $40,500 over three years

* Regional District of North Okanagan: $117,900 over three years

* Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen: $37,500 over three years

Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from areas outside of the province. They can displace native vegetation, cause substantial economic and environmental damage, and potentially pose a health risk to animals and people. Invasive plants disrupt ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

Specifically in the Central Okanagan there are a variety of plant species that can cause harm.  Val Miller, Invasive Species Officer for the Province names Teasel, Common Bugloss, Scotch Thistle, Garlic Mustard, Skeleton Weed and a particularly nasty one known as Puncture Vine, “It’s awful once you get it on trails.  It does puncture bicycle tires, thus the name, and it’s something you don’t want to get coming in through the sole of thin-soled shoes because it does hurt.”

The funding will allow groups to work closely together to raise awareness of invasive plants, identify and map them, and treat high-priority sites to control their spread. Miller says there’s also an easy way for people to report an invasive species sighting, “There’s a handy dandy app called report-a-weed that they can download for free, and use that app to help identify species and to easily report them in to the Province.  What we do is, compare the report to our known database of invasive plant locations and if it’s only one then we’ll add it to the database.  If it’s something that is of extreme concern, then we’ll send staff out to verify.” 

You can find the app HERE