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New funds to defeat invasive plants

MLA Bill Bennett presents a $193,500 cheque to Marty Hafke, coordinator of the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council, in Fernie, B.C. - Photo submitted
MLA Bill Bennett presents a $193,500 cheque to Marty Hafke, coordinator of the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council, in Fernie, B.C.
— image credit: Photo submitted

 

Two local organizations in the East Kootenays will receive funding from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) to help combat invasive plants.

The East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council will receive $193,500 and the Regional District of East Kootenay will receive $23,300.

“There’s no arguing the great beauty of the East Kootenays. A lesser known threat to our stunning landscapes is species of plants not native to these lands. I know a lot of people will be relieved to know this funding is coming from the Province,” said  East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett.

Invasive plants are ones that are not native to a particular ecosystem and have the potential to displace long-established species, causing considerable economic or environmental damage.

They may disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry or adversely affect commercial crops.

Methods used to minimize the spread of invasive plants include mechanical treatments (physical removal or destruction), chemical treatments (targeted use of herbicides), and biological controls (using an invasive plant’s natural predators to control its growth).

The Invasive Species Grants will be used to:

• Protect habitats and native species from impacts caused by expanding invasive plant populations;

• Develop collaborative invasive plant management strategies with all land management agencies at the local level;

• Identify and treat invasive plant species that are new to a region;

• Support First Nations IP Partnership Programs (12 established and several more in progress);

• and support local government weed programs and awareness activities.

Across British Columbia, 28 recipients will share $1,727,000 in funding from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) to support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies the locations of invasive plant species and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they spread.

This funding is in addition to the $2.5 million already earmarked by the Province for invasive plant control and management in 2012/13.

For more information visit the Invasive Alien Plant Program: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm and the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: http://www.bcinvasives.ca.

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