In this issue you will find:
Coastal ISC News and Updates
People in Action for Invasive Species Month
BC and International News
Resources and Tidbits
I - Coastal ISC News and Updates
In January of this year, the Coastal ISC moved to ‘Tin Town’ in Courtenay, an eclectic neighbourhood of metal-sided buildings housing artists, scientists, and just about everybody else in-between. We’re sharing an office in the Conservation Centre with other like-minded people and organizations such as Project Watershed, the Comox Valley Land Trust, the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy, and the Tsolum River Restoration Society. With that, we’ve got a new phone number and address: call us toll-free at 1.844.298.2532, or locally at 250.871.5117.
Coastal ISC Expands Program to Include Giant Hogweed Removal in the Comox Valley and Nanaimo Region
Back in 2013, the Coastal ISC in collaboration with the Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District launched an initiative to seek out and destroy invasive knotweed located within these jurisdictions. In 2014, the Nanaimo municipalities (Town of Qualicum Beach, City of Parksville and City of Nanaimo) jumped on-board and this year welcomed the Nanaimo Regional District and Lantzville.
New to 2016, the program now includes giant hogweed, a poisonous invasive species that can cause severe burns when contacted with the skin. Giant hogweed is an aggressive invader native to Southwestern Asia that was introduced as a garden ornamental. Not only is it highly toxic, it also forms tall, dense canopies that crowd out low-growing native species resulting in decreased bank stability and erosion. Please email the Coastal ISC at email@example.com or phone us at 250.871.5117 to report any sightings of giant hogweed or knotweed.
11th Annual General Meeting
On April 21st the Coastal ISC held its eleventh annual general meeting at Vancouver Island University. The event had many highlights including guest speaker Jennifer Grenz, PhD (student) in Plant Science, UBC speaking about the unforeseen effects of hybridized knotweed, The Coastal ISC Executive Director, Rachelle McElroy providing a snapshot of the work of the committee in 2015 and exciting peak into 2016.
Jennifer Grenz Publications:
Jennifer has co-authored two papers on knotweed; one detailing how knotweed has invaded and hybridized to become a formidable species, the other detailing management strategies and potential biocontrol agents. Links to the journal articles can be found here:
Knotweed Management Strategies in North America with the Advent of Widespread Hybrid Bohemian Knotweed, Regional Differences, and the Potential for Biocontrol via the Psyllid Aphalara itadori Shinji:
Knotweed (Fallopia spp.) Invasion of North America Utilizes Hybridization, Epigenetics, Seed Dispersal (Unexpectedly), and an Arsenal of Physiological Tactics:
Coastal ISC 2015 Program Highlights:
With such a large region to tackle, the Coastal ISC relies on contractors to bust priority invasive species in each management area. In 2015, the Alienbusters were hard at work with 324 sites (25 hectares) under their belts managing priority invasive plants in the region including: Blueweed, Giant Hogweed, Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Cress, Garden Yellow Loosestrife, Milk Thistle, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Sweet Fennel, Wild Chervil, Orange Hawkweed, Poison Hemlock, Yellow Flag Iris and Knotweed (Japanese, Giant and Bohemian). Aggressive "Knot on my property" local partnership programs in the Comox Valley and the municipalities in the Nanaimo Region engaged over 70 residents and managed an additional 108 Knotweed sites.
Education and outreach activities included community events, distributing outreach materials, enewsletter, getting the word out through the media (radio, TV and Newpaper) and providing invasive plant management support through a hotline (phone/email). New toll-free hotline 1.844.298.2532
Activities for 2016 are underway and a few are highlighted in this issue.
If you have any questions or updates to share about invasive species projects, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our toll-free hotline at 1.844.298.2532.
To keep updated on Coastal ISC news and events, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and on our website.
II - Upcoming Events
June 16, 2016: Aquatic Invasive Species of Concern Workshop in Cariboo, Invasive Species Council of BC. Billy Barker Casino Hotel, Quesnel BC. 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Register on-line at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventId=1836014 .
June 28, 2016: Look out for the Coastal ISC info-booth on June 28th; we’ll be setting up shop at the Craig Street Market in Parksville from 6-9 pm as part of the annual Summer by the Sea Street Market event. We’ll be there to answer any of your questions on invasive species; identification, their impacts, management strategies, and we’ll also be providing resources on different ways that you can help manage invasive species here on Vancouver Island. Avid gardeners will have a chance to get PlantWise and learn about alternatives to common invasive plants for their garden. For more information on the event, please visit: http://www.parksvillechamber.com/special-events/summer-by-the-sea-street-market
May of 2016 was officially proclaimed Invasive Species Action Month by the government of British Columbia, and as a result a number of initiatives to combat invasive species took place from a variety of organizations. Each week heralded a new theme: week one focused on invasive animals, week two focused on invasive plants, week three focused on outdoor recreation, and week four focused on aquatic invasive species.
Invasive Species have far-reaching economical, recreational, and ecological implications. They pose human health risks, damage infrastructure, and reduce native biodiversity. The government of British Columbia recognizing this is a huge step in the battle for combating invasive species. For more information on everything that went on, visit the official invasive species month website at: www.bcinvasivesmonth.com.
Broombusters in Oceanside
Broombusters, a group dedicated to removing scotch broom from Vancouver Island since 2006, kept busy by organizing 18 community cuts in the Oceanside community for BC Invasive Species Action Month in May. Their goal is simple: “ordinary people who get out their loppers in May and June and cut down the flowering plants wherever we see them”. Thanks to their efforts along with the dozens of volunteers that gave their time to help fight invasive species, Qualicum Beach is now 99% broom free. Broombusters is eager to recruit new volunteers, and those interested in getting involved in future events can phone Broombusters at 250.752.4816.
Nanaimo Gets Involved with Invasive Plants Month
The city of Nanaimo held a number of events all aimed at reducing and eliminating the presence of invasive species here on Vancouver Island for Invasive Plants Month. Events included drop-offs for invasive plants requiring proper disposal, a Broom Busters work party at Third Street Park, and an Invasives Work Party held at Oliver Woods Park.
Invasive species have negative recreational impacts as well as environmental and economical impacts. Species like scotch broom (an aggressive invader) are known to cause allergy symptoms when they bloom in spring. Other species like english ivy can spread and engulf walking trails. The spines from gorse can puncture bicycle tires. Carpet burweed can form large unsightly brown patches in recreational areas. It's good to see our cities taking such a positive stance on the threat of invasives!
Palm Beach Invasive Plant Work Party
On May 15th as part of Invasive Plant Month, Twenty-four volunteers from Powell River came out to Palm Beach and removed three hundred square meters of english ivy, english holly, and lamium. Leading the pull was the Coastal ISC’s executive director Rachelle McElroy, along with invasive plant expert Ernie Sellentin, Sellentin's Habitat Restoration and Invasive Species Management. A Special thanks goes out to the Powell River Regional District for their commitment to reducing the negative impact of invasive species by sponsoring this event, and to the Vegetation Station for profiling the pull. Users can listen to the episode at: http://cjmponline.ca/podcasting/index.php?id=1953.
Scotch Broom on the Sunshine Coast
Local sunshine coast resident Tamara Litke, along with her husband, son, and two UBC students, hauled out and burned an entire trailer and wagon-load of invasive scotch broom as part of her ‘Beat Back the Broom!’ event in May. Scotch broom is a beautiful but insidious perennial that forms dense, impenetrable thickets, preventing sensitive vegetation like the garry oak from growing. “It was a very satisfying feeling”, says Tamara while reflecting on the event; she is already planning her next excursion. Interested volunteers can contact her at email@example.com.
IV - Regional News
Parksville Sets its Sights on Gorse
The city of Parksville has begun targeting and eliminating gorse within its city limits. Gorse is particularly concerning due to its potentially long lifespan (45 years), and ability to produce up to 18,000 seeds per mature plant, where each seed pod can remain viable for up to 40 years. It spreads vegetatively and by seed, which can be dispersed by water, wildlife, or disturbance.
The city of Parksville will begin treatment of individual plants mostly along highway 19A near the resort, which will take place sometime between now and April 1st depending on weather conditions.
Invasive Species on the Sunshine Coast
On May 16th at the Sechelt Indian Band Community Hall, Jennifer Grenz, PhD student in plant science from UBC spoke with Sunshine Coast residents on the impacts that invasive plants have in BC. Highlights of the talk included why invasive species are of concern, success stories of battles won over invasive plants in other regions of BC, priority invasive plants and treatment methods in the Sunshine Coast, proper disposal techniques, and when to start prioritizing treatment of particular invasive plants.
V - BC and International News
Western Canada Narrows in on Invasive Mussels
As of right now, zebra and quagga mussels have yet to invade the western-most parts of Canada, and a joint agreement between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon is aiming to ensure that that doesn’t happen. Aptly named, the ‘Inter-Provincial Territorial Agreement for Coordinated Regional Defense Against Invasive Species’ is a mile marker towards better communication and co-ordination between provinces and territories regarding aquatic invasive species. Some preventative measures that the jurisdictions are planning include streamlined watercraft inspection stations that will avoid duplicate inspections when traveling from province to province, and more accessible resources for inter-provincial communication between invasive species agencies.
Federal Government Targets Invasive Alien SpeciesThis year the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Task Force, along with the Canadian Council on Invasive Species held a workshop to collaborate on developing potential actions to improve alien species prevention and management in Canada. Present at the workshop were 50 participants ranging from varying levels of government, non-governmental organizations, provincial and territorial invasive species councils, industry professionals, and academics. The results of the workshop identified five key themes: the importance of developing further inter-judicial coordination between organizations, increased funding, stronger educational resources, enhanced emergency response actions, and overall the facilitation and collaboration of partnership between organizations. The results from the workshop will be used to assist in future decisions made by the IAS in helping with the fight against invasive alien species.
Using Drones to Seek out Invasives
February ushered the Annual General Meeting of the Invasive Species Council of BC, during which time many breakthroughs in the fight against Invasive Species were discussed. One of them, however, seemed to stand out from the rest; using drones to identify invasive species in the field. Catherine Tarasoff, an Ecologist with Thompson Rivers University was approached and encouraged to try out the new technology on a vast region of BC infested with yellow flag iris, and after two days and thousands of photos later, a high-resolution image of the area was produced that even included GPS coordinates. Drones could save money over time and prevent injury from potentially dangerous field work, enabling technologists unfamiliar with invasive species to be able to go in an area and find out what is invasive and what is not.
VI - Resources and Tidbits
Reporting Alien Species
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has in place two methods that allow anyone to be able to report an invasive alien species. Individuals can download on their Android or iPhone the ‘Report-a-Weed’ app, which allows users to simply stand near the plant, pick what it is, and upload it to the ministry’s database. Additionally, the Invasive Alien Plant Program, or ‘IAPP’, is a computer-based application that allows you to search, locate and upload the location of any invasive species anywhere in the province. Users can find more information at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/application.htm
Reporting invasive species has never been this easy!
A Unique Approach to Handling European Fire Ants
The european fire ant is a relatively recent invader to BC, having moved its way west across Canada from Quebec in 1915. Unlike BCs native ant populations, european fire ants swarm rapidly and deliver a stinging bite, sometimes resulting in allergic reactions requiring medical attention. They form dense, hidden colonies in parks, lawns, and gardens, compromising the use of those areas by humans. One approach documented to be effective in finding and destroying nest sites has been outlined by Dr. Robert Higgins at Thompson Rivers University. Using commercially available pesticides and tools found at your local hardware store, Dr. Higgins has detailed the method by which to control infestations in a safe, effective and efficient manner. By creating a grid and placing slices of apple (during specific temperatures throughout the day), you can narrow in on the exact location of the nest(s), then treat the surrounding soil with permethrin, where the ants will succumb to its effects over a few days. For complete instructions, please visit: http://faculty.tru.ca/rhiggins/control_of_myrmica_rubra_2.htm
Invasive Species and Novel Ecosystems; an On-line Course at UVIC
Through the University of Victoria’s school of continuing studies, the Coastal ISC’s Rachelle McElroy will be teaching an on-line course that focuses on the impacts that invasive species have on our ecosystems. Students will explore the biology of invasive species, examine their life history, and study dispersal strategies that have made them as prevalent in our ecosystems as they are. Please visit https://continuingstudies.uvic.ca/science-and-ecological-restoration/courses/invasive-species-and-novel-ecosystems for information on how to register.
Thank you for your continued support!
Coastal ISC Staff and Partners in Action!
Do Not Mow Signs
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Engaging Key Stakeholders and Members at the 2015 Coastal ISC AGM
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