Invasive plants are spreading across BC at alarming rates, making control efforts difficult and eradication especially challenging. Invasive plants reduce biodiversity, alter ecosystem functions, create management costs to natural resource industries, reduce recreational opportunities, reduce property values, and ultimately cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The World Conservation Union has declared that invasive plants are the second largest threat to biodiversity on the planet, second only to habitat loss. There is no “quick fix” for the invasive plant issue. The qathet Regional District is committed to addressing Invasive Plant issues in the region.
An Invasive Plant Management Strategy was adopted by the Regional District Board of Directors in January 2017. This Strategy establishes a framework for a collaborative approach to reducing and eradicating invasive plants. Included in the strategy is the creation of a Regional Invasive Plant Technical Review Committee composed of representatives from the qathet Regional District, City of Powell River, Tla’amin Nation, Provincial agencies, and other key landowners and managers.
This committee will be the mechanism for a collaborative approach to invasive plant management in the region. The Integrated Pest Management Program Policy, adopted by the Regional District Board of Directors in 2016 is an important tool which will be used to achieve success in the Strategy. This Policy ensures that the least toxic method will be used whenever plant management is required.
Invasive plants were brought to Canada and into BC both accidentally and intentionally. Many invasive plant species arrived with increased trade, immigration, and colonization in the 1800’s. Gardening and landscaping activities have also resulted in purposeful introductions of invasive plants. The same characteristics that are ideal for the garden, such as self-seeding, fast growth, and adaptability to a variety of growing conditions, are also what make invasive plants a threat to natural resources.
We’re fighting invasive species because they:
- Reduce crop yields by up to 15 percent
- Damage wild habitats and forage foods
- Are a threat to human health and safety
- Can depress property values when severe
- Spread rapidly, nearly unchecked
- Cause severe damage to infrastructure
- Cost millions to business and governments
Resident participation in fighting the spread of invasive species is a critical part of the initiative.