East Kootenay gets more than $200,000 to fight invasive plants

The provincial government is providing $194,000 to the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council and $23,300 to the RDEK

  • Apr. 20, 2015 12:00 p.m.
The EK Invasive Plant Council and the Regional District have received funds to help in the battle against invasive species such as spotted knapweed

The EK Invasive Plant Council and the Regional District have received funds to help in the battle against invasive species such as spotted knapweed

Courtesy Dave Paulsen

The provincial government is providing $194,000 to the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council and $23,300 to the Regional District of East Kootenay  to help control the spread of invasive plants, Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett announced Friday.

These are among the 29 grants totalling $1,702,000, that are being distributed province-wide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“Invasive species cause real damage to the environment, but also to our prosperity,” Bennett said. “They cause soil erosion, reduce biodiversity and are harmful to commercial crops. Controlling invasive species is an important part of investing in our region’s future.”

The funding will be invested in activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these plants.

Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from other areas. They displace native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some pose a health risk to people (e.g. skin irritation). Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.