Invasive Species Month Underway
Orange flowers of Hawkweed on left, and Giant Hog weed on right, two problem invasive species – images courtesy Invasive Species Council of BC
Prince George, B.C.- Now that the weather is improving, things are greening up and invasive plants are taking hold. This is Invasive Species month in B.C, and there is a concerted effort underway to stop the spread of flora and fauna that are invasive.
Invasive species can damage bio diversity and pose a survival threat to wildlife and cattle as their natural feed is choked out by invasive plants . That goes for aquatic life as well, as non native species ( such as Koi) can deplete their food source.
This year, there is emphasis on people’s recreational activities says Gail Wallin of the Invasive Species Council in B.C. “That’s a huge spread for invasive species” says Wallin who says boaters and other recreation activities can unwittingly spread invasive species. The message is “Play Clean Go” says Wallin “We’re looking for people, before they take their ATV’s their trucks etcetera, off the roads into other areas to make sure their equipment is clean ’cause we transport, whether you’re hiking up a trail and you’ve got seeds on your boots from another area, you will be transporting invasives.”
Wallin says it’s not unlike flu season “You don’t know what flus are coming in, but if you wash your hands you don’t spread germs, it’s the same logic.”
The northern region of the province has fewer invasive species than areas south of Kamloops says Wallin, but with people experiencing the outdoors throughout the province, and with warmer winters, there is a potential for the spread of invasive species and for those species to take hold in the region.
As a reminder, Wallin says plants suspected of being invasive, should never be tossed into the compost “If you don’t know your flowers and you put those in the compost, you’re going to have that through your garden next year.”
Last year, the Council launched a new app to allow people to both identify and report invasive species. The app is having a positive impact says Wallin “More people are reporting, and that’s good. It helps people look and report. It helps but it’s not the same as everybody taking action on their own, because that’s the best thing.”