Canadian Thistle is one of the invasive plants of concern in the Regional District of North Okanagan. (I. Leekie photo)

Canadian Thistle is one of the invasive plants of concern in the Regional District of North Okanagan. (I. Leekie photo)

Bigger bucks to battle noxious weeds in North Okanagan

Three levels of service to up the ante against invasive species to be presented to GVAC

The Regional District of North Okanagan may increase its operating budget to treat more noxious weeds on trails in the Greater Vernon Area.

The RDNO has a limited maintenance budget to control weeds in its parks and trails and would require a boost to add additional invasive plant management. As it stands now, the RDNO concentrates its $16,000 budget on controlling highly invasive plants and prevents the introduction of new ones.

The RDNO fields most complaints about Scotch Thistle, Canadian Thistle, Bull Thistle, Spotted Knapweed and Burdock, some of which are low on the provincial priority chart.

Three options will be presented to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee during the June 3 meeting.

The first option would see priority species treated, as well as Canadian and Bull Thistle and Burdock, at an estimated cost of $80,000. This option would also see an additional 1,600 hours of inventory, treatment, monitoring and data entry.

The second option, at an estimated cost of $57,500, would treat only priority species and include 1,150 man-hours.

The third option, an estimated cost of $16,000, treats priority species only with 200 man-hours included.

The RDNO’s responsibility is to treat only to a level that is sustainable year after year where treatment of several species take a five-to-10 year program to stop the weeds from coming back, the report from Community Services said.

Community Services is recommending the board of directors increase the budget to a level of preferred service.

The board may decide to increase operations utilizing the reserve fund in 2020 and adjusting the 2021 budget, or they could refer the preferred option to 2021 budget deliberations while maintaining the usual level service, or Option 3, for the 2020 season.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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