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Government targets invasive plants with funding

Invasive Species Council of B.C. past chair Kristy Palmantier and executive director Gail Wallin present Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett a boating sign to protect lakes from invasive species for Horse Lake where Barnett lives east of 100 Mile House. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Invasive Species Council of B.C. past chair Kristy Palmantier and executive director Gail Wallin present Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett a boating sign to protect lakes from invasive species for Horse Lake where Barnett lives east of 100 Mile House.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Two organizations in Williams Lake are receiving $179,000 from the B.C. Government to help control the spread of invasive plants.

The Cariboo Regional District is receiving $149,000 and the Cariboo-Chilcotin-Coast Invasive Plant Committee is receiving $30,000.

These funds are in addition to $180,000 received by the Invasive Species Council of B.C. headquartered in Williams Lake for province-wide initiatives to control invasive species.

“We know that invasive species degrade the quality of our land for agriculture and ranching,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “Getting rid of invasive plants can be costly once they take root, so it’s important we work together to stop the spread of invasive plants.”

“Considering the negative economic and environmental impacts invasive plant species can have, I’m pleased our government is delivering funds that will help maintain our natural landscapes and reduce threats to agriculture,” said Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes.

The funding will be used to raise public awareness of invasive plants, survey invasive plant populations, and control their spread in high-priority sites.

Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into B.C. from other areas. They displace native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage, with some posing a health risk. Invasive plants may disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

A total of $1.6 million is being distributed by the B.C. government to help local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. implement the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

This latest funding is in addition to $809,000 already earmarked by the provincial government for invasive plant control and management in the fiscal 2014/15 year.

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