Invasive Species Week: time to consider invasions

Be aware of what is lurking in your garden or lake

Are you aware of what is lurking in your garden or local lake?

Beware of the invasive species.

British Columbia’s Invasive Species Week is June 10-17.

Folks can help by learning how to identify invasive species (IS) that may be in their own backyards, or hiding in the bilge of their boats. Invasive species are easy to report with the Report-A-Weed App, available for iPhone and Android Smartphones at www.reportaweedbc.ca.

The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) works collaboratively with regional invasive plant/species committees that offer a range of programs for the public to engage in the prevention the spread of IS. For more information on the region committee in your area, visit www.bcinvasives.ca/general/regional-committees.

During Invasive Species Week, check your property for invasive plants, and learn how to help by removing and replacing them with similar native species. To help you make this transition, the PlantWise pilot program this summer is being launched to prevent the further introduction and spread of invasive plants in B.C.

Invasive plants continue to be sold in many nursery and gardening outlets across B.C., and are traded as seeds, transplants or starter plants by gardening and landscaping enthusiasts. More than 58 per cent of invasive plants arrive in Canada as landscape plants, ornamentals, agricultural crops or plants for medicinal and research purposes, and can become so abundant and widespread they out-compete native plants causing detrimental economic, social, and environmental impacts.

Before taking your boat out this summer, make sure you know how to properly clean, drain and dry (CDD) your boat to prevent the spread of aquatic IS. This summer marks the second year of the CDD program, and staff members are on the ground in five high risk regions in the province – the Fraser Valley, South-Central Okanagan, North-Central Okanagan, Shuswap, and Central Kootenays.

The CDD program aims to engage B.C. boaters and local communities, providing education to reduce the spread of aquatic IS by watercraft. The CDD initiative encourages boaters to clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment before moving to a new water body.

This simple behaviour has the potential to result in positive impacts for B.C.; it can stop current infestations from spreading, and increase the likelihood no new invasive species will invade our waters. Once an IS species has colonized, the negative impacts can range from a reduction in natural habitat for wildlife, and limited access to lakes for recreational users due to the hazards posed by IS.

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