Invasive plants are non-native plants that have been introduced to BC and have detrimental economic, environmental, and health effects on local humans, livestock, and wildlife. Also known as noxious weeds or alien species, they are far more aggressive than other common garden or lawn weeds. Economic impacts of invasive plants include reduced forage quality and quantity for cattle ranchers, as many invasive plants are unpalatable to livestock. Invasive plants are the second largest threat to biodiversity in the world, due to their ability to out-compete native plants; this threatens habitat for wildlife as native plants are displaced. New invasive plants to watch out for in 2016 for the Cariboo-Chilcotin and Coast regions include Common Bugloss, Hairy Catsear, Himalayan Blackberry, Large Yellow Loosetrife, Queen Anne’s Lace (aka Wild Carrot), Butterfly Bush, Caraway, Cypress Spurge, Wild Chervil, and Mountain Bluet (see photos). If you see any of these anywhere in our region, report them immediately.
One of the most significant ways invasive plants are spread is through human activities. Cars and trucks on the highway, all-terrain vehicles and mountain bikes on trail systems, and industrial activities such as logging and gravel extraction can transport and unknowingly disperse weed seeds to new areas. Many invasive plants are garden ornamentals that escape from gardens and invade natural areas (visithttp://bcinvasives.ca/resources/programs/plant-wise/ for popular alternatives). By knowing what species are considered invasive in our region, you can detect new invaders and respond quickly and efficiently. The Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee website has an entire list of local regional priority invasive species by sub-region online at www.cccipc.ca.
What can you do?
Remember to always PLAY CLEAN GO which means checking yourself, vehicles, pets, gear, boats, and other equipment for invasive plants that may be “hitchhiking.”
REPORT invasive plants you see (see ad on this page for ways to report).
Properly DISPOSE of invasive plants by placing all material into a sealed plastic bag and then into the garbage (or invasive plant bin if there is one).
DON’T PLANT invasive species in your ornamental gardens.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD, not the weeds!
All these actions help prevent invasive species from forming complete monocultures and creating what is called a “biodesert” with very low habitat value (food and/or shelter) for our native species of insects, birds, and animals. Monocultures of aquatic invasive plants also have impacts on our fish as these riparian species quickly choke out water ways, deplete them of oxygen, make them impassable, and shade them out.
Spring Challenge: Choose an invasive plant picture on this page, then think of someone you know whose name starts with the same letter of the alphabet as the plant. Now, seek this person out and tell them about invasive plants and how they can help.
Visit the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee website at www.cccipc.ca for more information on local invasive plant species or call (250) 855-WEED. The CCCIPC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.