Coastal Invasive Species Committee

  August 2014 E-News


I -   Coastal ISC News and Updates
II - Upcoming Events
III -Peo
ple in Action
IV - Regional News
V -   BC and International News
VI - Resources and Tidbits

Photo: Spartina densiflora seedlings

I -  Coastal ISC News and Updates

A successful Spring Forum was enjoyed at the Quw' utsun' Cultural and Conference Center in Duncan on June 12th, with a record breaking level of attendees! Highlights of the day included a visit from The Honourable Judith Guichon, the Lieutenant Governor of BC and the Field Tours, especially Jared Williams enthusiastic and inspiring tour on the traditional use of native plants. Not to mention engaging presentations, including those from Rob Higgins on Fire Ants and our very own Val Schaefers' Changing Landscape of Restoration presentations captivated the audience. 

Members voted for new & returning 2014 Board of Directors.  A warm welcome to new (in red) and returning Directors!

Photo: (back row from left to right) June Pretzer, Eric Jeklin, Dan Williams, Darrell Frank,  Cory Manton, Doug DeMarzo, Michael Goodhelpsen, (front row from left to right) Carol Milo, Norm Kirschner, Dave Murphy, Julian Anderson, Barrie Agar, Marie Robertson, Val Schaefer.  Regrets:  Erica McClaren, Becky Brown, Michele Jones, Raj Prasad.

Congratulations to our AGM Feedback survey winner, Merrilee Hoen, who won an Alienbusters Mug for completing the survey!

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia granted patronage to the Coastal ISC in May of this year! Patronage, in the sense of support and encouragement of worthy endeavours, is a function of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. It derives from the concept of the Crown as the source of the highest honours and awards granted in our society. The Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia grants patronage in order to support and encourage worthy endeavours. Her Honour is patron of many community, military and cultural associations, as well as public service organizations, lending them vital support and recognition for their outstanding contributions to society.

Show your support by "Liking" us on Facebook and sharing our message with friends and family!

II - Upcoming Events

October 6-10, 2014 - Society for Ecological Restoration Great Basin: Collaborative Restoration, Redmond, Oregon

October 14-17, 2014, 12th Annual Weeds Across Borders (WAB) international conference on invasive species, Ottawa, Ontario

October 28-30, 2014 - Bi-Annual Integrated Vegetation Management Association of BC Conference: New Technology, New Techniques, Richmond BC

III - People in Action

The field season is well underway for Coastal ISC.  Contracts have been signed with our four Invasive Plant Management Area Contractors, who are controlling select high priority invasive plants in the South, Central, North Island and Sunshine Coast areas; using integrated pest management techniques .  As well our staff have been conducing inventories in Powell River Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

Knotweed programs are starting up!  We have partnerships with the Capital Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) for the Capital Region; the Town of Qualicum Beach and the Comox Valley Regional District has partnered with the City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and Town of Comox.  While each program is unique to the community it services, they all provide a reporting service, ability to verify and map infestations, and treat a select number of  Knotweed sites.  While each program differs slightly as some programs target Knotweed on public land, while others are offered to private landowners at no cost and some target infestations on both public and private lands; we are encouraged by the support and partnerships gained! 
PLEASE REPORT KNOTWEED! By email: or by phone: 1-250-857-2472

Giant Hogweed in the Spotlight

Once again Giant Hogweed has made local news headlines.  Two boys in Mechosin had a skin reaction and it was initially thought that they had come into contact with invasive Giant hogweed; it later turned out that they had come into contact with native CGH Cowichanow parsnip. Read the story here

Both plants are from the same family and both can cause a skin reaction, however Cow parsnip is a native plant which can cause minor skin irritation while invasive Giant hogweed is much larger and more dangerous; with long-lasting, serious burns, even blindness from contact. CTV recently interviewed Rachelle McElroy, Executive Director of Coastal ISC - watch the CTV video here.  Another video put out by Metro Vancouver Invasive Species Council describes the difference between the two plants.


Cowparsnip leaf 2013Giant hogweed leaf 2013
photos: Cow Parsnip leaf on the left and Giant hogweed deeply lobed and serrated leaf on the right.  Note that the Giant Hogweed leaf can grow to 2.5 meters across (though this is not always the case)

The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society (FFCCS) have been at it again!  Giant hogweed Team Leader, Micheal Jessen, with the Friends of French Creek Conservation Society said this year’s hogweed digs seemed to be going well until the team arrived at the airport lands.  “We were struck with a huge flourish of whole new plants,” he said, “just a jungle of them.”  Jessen said they have been going to the location for three years to control it, but they had to retrace their steps and tackle old territory before finally making some progress. Read the full article here 

Coastal ISC Contractors also worked with the FFCCS on several occasions to dig out infestation sites. While they found 5 mature plants and dug around 1000 smaller ones, there is still the need for another dig this year. For more information on the FFCCS and to see how you can help their efforts visit their website.

And in Courtenay, a resident wrote in to the local newspaper saying that Giant hogweed sites have been spotted there.

You can report sightings of Giant hogweed to the Coastal ISC's Hotline.  We receive numerous reports every year from residents all over Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast; who are looking to identify this dangerous plant and for assistance with control methods.  We are able to coordinate treatments when the plant is on crown lands, can provide advice for private land owners as well as do our best to notify land managers.  We also have lots of resources, including photos and video, on our Priority Plants page.

IV - Regional News

antsEffort to eradicate invasive fire ants faces tough slog in B.C. 
by Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, July 11, 2014
Efforts to assess the full extent of B.C.’s European fire ant infestations are being frustrated by homeowners who refuse access to workers sent to confirm their presence. Many of the homeowners fear that a confirmed infestation will hamper their ability to sell their home, according to Thompson Rivers University entomologist Rob Higgins. Read the full article here

Warning issued over poisonous hemlock in Greater Victoria
by Peter Meiszner,  Global News, July 4th 2014
The Royal BC Museum’s head botanist is warning the public about the dangers of poisonous hemlock. The invasive species is now coming into full bloom in Victoria, and it can be potentially deadly if ingested. “It’s important to get it in people’s awareness,” said Royal BC Museum’s curator of botany, Dr Ken Marr. Marr says that in 2002, two people cooked and ate some of the plant, possibly mistaking it for another member of the parsley family. The couple reported numbness in their mouths, followed by respiratory arrest. They ended up spending five days in hospital. Read the full article

Massive invasive bullfrog caught in small Vancouver Island pond 
by Scott McKenzie, Alberni Valley Times, June 17, 2014
A recent unexpected catch with a bobber and worm of an American bullfrog could indicate the invasive species is beginning to spread around the Alberni Valley from Sproat Lake. The photo quickly spread around Facebook of Alberni Valley resident Russ Schut, who caught the massive frog in an old dugout on his family's Beaver Creek property. "It's a pond in the middle of nowhere," said Schut's mother, Lisa Krausse.  Read the full article here

Weed Wars enter summer phase
by Darrell Bellaart, Daily News, July 12, 2014
Progress was made this year to control invasive plants, both by volunteers and city contractors.   Teams of Broombusters volunteers took out plenty of Scotch broom this spring, while the city hired a private contractor to control a destructive invasive plant: Japanese knotweed.  Gardeners once planted knotweed for its unique foliage. It has large, heart-shaped leaves on stalks up to 2.5 centimetres thick, which look like bamboo, topped with white, attractive flowers. Its roots reach great distances, allowing it to replace natural species as it damages roads and building foundations. Read the full article here

Resident finds snapping turtle on logging road
by Carli Berry, For The Times, July 14, 2014
Grant Taylor was riding his bike when he came across what he thought was a large rock on the side of the road.  The rock, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a massive turtle.  "It was the size of a stop sign," Taylor said.
Read the full article here

V -  BC and International News

Don't dump pets in Burnaby ponds, city says
by Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now, June 30, 2014
The City of Burnaby is reminding pet owners it’s illegal to dump their unwanted animals in local lakes. 
Melinda Yong, an environmental technician with the city, told the NOW she received a phone call from a resident inquiring if it was legal to release goldfish outdoors. According to Yong, the woman didn’t want her goldfish anymore and was advised by a Vancouver pet store to release them in a Burnaby pond, so she was calling the city to confirm that was OK.  “I did explain to the woman that it’s illegal...  Read the full article here

Whistler invasive plants could now get you a ticket
by Charlie Cho, CBC News, posted July 29, 2014
Whistler residents can now be fined $250 a day if they have invasive plants in their yards."Most invasives are quite pretty. Things like yellow-flag iris has a gorgeous yellow flower, and when you tell people it's invasive, they're sort of shocked," said Claire O'BrienRead the full article here

Researchers Do More than Raise a Flag about Invasive Species
by Mackenzie Cassels, TRU, posted on June 17, 2014
Vaseux Lake, located between Okanogan Falls and Oliver on the Okanagan Highway, is home to a variety of wildlife and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Like many BC lakes, however, Vaseux is in jeopardy due to a pretty, seemingly innocuous foe, the yellow flag iris. Due to its dense root systems and rapid seed dispersal, this ornamental water garden plant is diminishing indigenous plant species and choking aquatic environments across the Pacific Northwest.  Read the full article here
Manitoba claims experiment to kill off zebra mussels in 4 harbours worked
by The Canadian Press, June 18, 2014
Manitoba has declared victory in its first battle with invading zebra mussels but says the unique treatment it used to kill the shellfish doesn’t mean the province is free of them yet.  The province sealed off four harbours in mid-May with a silt curtain before injecting liquid potash into the water. The concentration of potash was increased until it suffocated the mussels.  The experiment received global attention because it’s believed to be the first time liquid potash has been used in open water.  Read the full article here 
Growing concerns over invasive species making its way to Alberta
by Staff  Global News, June 29, 2014
EDMONTON – The province is warning the public to be wary of zebra mussels, an invasive species that’s already spread throughout much of the U.S. and parts of Canada.  Most recently, officials in Manitoba had to close off a section of Lake Winnipeg and inject liquid potash. Read the full article here

Invasive phragmites in Windsor sought by U.S. researchers
by CBC News, posted June 18, 2014
A team of U.S. researchers based in Detroit took a trip to Peche Island on the Windsor side of the Detroit River on Tuesday.
They were looking for invasive plants, especially one called phragmites.  Phragmites is a tall reed with a bushy top. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, it has caused severe damage to wetlands and beaches in Ontario for several decades.  Read the full article here

Alberta scientists track invasive earthworms
by Michael Purvis, Sault Star/QMI Agency, June 24th, 2014
Earthworms didn't get to Alberta naturally, and now researchers at the University of Alberta hope to track the locations of those little pink wiggling invaders to limit their populations. Researchers at the school's faculties of science and education have teamed up to create the Alberta Worm Invasion Tracker. Read the full article here

VI - Resources and Tidbits

Is Japanese knotweed SPEEDING UP global warming? 
by Jonathan O'Callaghan, Published 3 July 2014
We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, giving us the safe and clean air that  humans breathe.
But now scientists have said that some invasive species of plant such as Japanese knotweed and kudzu can unbalance an ecosystem and release carbon stored in soil into the atmosphere.
The researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina estimate that, in a year, the invasion of kudzu in the U.S. alone can unleash the equivalent amount of carbon from 540 million gallons (2.5 billion litres) of gasoline.  Read the full article here

Teachers and Youth Leaders! An Invasive Species Educational resource was developed to introduce youth to invasive species.  This Educational package includes activities, games, and colouring sheets; developed by the Invasive Species Council of BC.   See more here
Lyda Salatian of Green Teams of Canada is starting a Greater Victoria Green Team modeled after the Lower Mainland Green Team (engaging volunteers in the care of parks!). Lyda is riding her bicycle from Victoria BC to Calgary AB and started on June 7th 2014. She will then hike 300kms with a goal of reaching 15 mountain peaks between July and August. Her goal is to raise funds for Green Teams of Canada and raise awareness. 
The purpose of Lynda's Giving Group is to raise funds and awareness about Green Teams of Canada. The mission of Green Teams of Canada is to restore, conserve and enhance ecosystems to preserve habitat and wild species by engaging the public in educational hands-on activities such as: invasive plant removals, planting of native plants and trees, picking up litter and volunteering at non-profit educational farms. Read More here
On the Lighter Side...

Thank you for your continued support!

Coastal ISC Staff and Partners in Action!

Keith Lawrence from the
Cowichan Regional District 
speaking at Coastal ISC's
Spring Forum

Tim Kolchyski (right) leads
Field Tour participants at
ButterChurch site

Rachelle McElroy pulls Tansy
Ragwort from the Sunshine
Coast Hwy, during recent
invasive plant inventory