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More funding needed to tackle invasive plants in the Cariboo Chilcotin

To properly handle invasive plants in the Cariboo Chilcotin, the CRD needs more money.

In the past five years, the CRD has received $160,000 annually from the provincial government to do spraying on Crown land.

Now it’s asking the province for $452,000.

“There are more than 2,300 sites that are identified with invasive plant infestation and most of that is napweed,” CRD chair Al Richmond said.

“We get calls from ranchers in the South Cariboo areas on Crown land wanting to keep it off their property.”

The program needs to treat the Crown Land areas that have been identified and right now the program can only manage about 677 sites, Richmond explained.

An ask from the CRD  for more money doesn’t come as a surprise, said Steve Thomson, minister of forests, land and natural resource operations.

“The ministry hears  annually from all its partners, which includes 15 regional districts and 13 non-profit societies across the province.”

“Unfortunately the need for funds is always greater than what is available in the ministry’s budget.”

When asked if there might be more money for the CRD, Thomson said the ministry is currently reviewing plans for next year’s funding.

Last Friday the CRD board received the annual review of the Invasive Plant Management program.

Treatment activities are mechanical, chemical, and biological.

In 2013, a five-year 50/50 cost share pilot program within the Landowner Assistance program was introduced.

Richmond said the CRD is happy to do the program, recognizes the need and wants to support the program, but only a third of sites are being addressed.

“We’ve got more and more sites and the funding’s not adequate,” he added.

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