District weeds out bothersome plants

Efforts are underway to weed out invasive plants in the region.

Efforts are underway to weed out invasive plants in the region.

MLA Eric Foster announced $3,700 for the Regional District of North Okanagan to help with treatment of high risk invasive plant sites on Crown land.

“Invasive species negatively impact forests, water quality, and local agriculture,” said Foster. “The quicker we stop them, the less damage is done.”

Invasive plants:

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

n 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.

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

n Impede recreation by making trails impassable, damaging fishing streams and puncturing tires.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is providing over $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 BC 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.

To find out where invasive plants are known to occur in your area, visit the Invasive Alien Plant Program map display at http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/application.htm