Funding to help weed out invasive plants

Provincial funding has been slated for a committee to help combat invasive plants.

  • Aug. 23, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Provincial funding has been slated for a committee to help combat invasive plants.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announced $10,000 for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast IP committee that will help support invasive plant surveys and monitor treatment efficacy on Crown land.

“Preventing the spread of invasive plants will help protect native plants species that are vital to our ecosystems,” Barnett says. “These plants often look nice but can be poisonous, so the quicker we can stop them, the less damage is done.”

The B.C. government says invasive plants:

• harm the environment by out-competing native plants, altering ecosystems and creating an increased wildfire hazard.

• affect human health by causing skin irritation, blisters, scarring and severe breathing problems; impact animal health via toxins in some plants that make them inedible or toxic

• harm the economy by negatively impacting property and crop values and increasing costs associated with treating infestations on rangelands, gardens, parks or along roadsides.

• impede recreation by making trails impassable, damaging fishing streams and puncturing tires.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is providing more than $705,000 to invasive plant committees and regional districts to assist in controlling high-priority invasive plant species, such as giant hogweed, hoary alyssum and field scabious, and reduce the spread of others.

This funding builds on the $3 million announced earlier this year for the Invasive Plant Council of B.C. to create an employment program, called Take Action, that will train and hire up to 150 people to manage invasive plants.

An invasive plant is a non-native plant that has been introduced, either intentionally or accidentally, from other areas and is harmful to the environment, economy or animal or human health.

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