The provincial government is providing $204,000 to the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and $10,000 to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee to help control the spread of invasive plants, Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announced today.

These are two of 29 grants, totalling $1,702,000, that are being distributed province-wide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“Although many invasive plants are quite attractive, we must remember how dangerous they can be,” says Cariboo North MLA, Coralee Oakes. “We need to work together and make sure that these plants are stopped from causing economic and environmental harm, and the first step is informing the public which plants and floral need to be removed.”

“Invasive plants harm everyone, from farmers, to local gardeners, to wildlife, to wild stock,” says Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA, Donna Barnett. “The biggest problem is that these plants are easy to grow and spread, but very hard to kill. For everyone’s benefit, they need to be stopped.”
The funding will be invested in activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these plants.

“We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the province in the management of invasive plants,” says CRD Chair Al Richmond. “Invasive plants pose a formidable threat to the Cariboo Chilcotin agricultural industry as well as native plant species and eco-systems. This funding will help us in our efforts to control the spread of invasive plants on behalf of the province of B.C.”

Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from other areas. They displace native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some pose a health risk to people (e.g. skin irritation). Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.

To learn more Invasive Plant Program, visit: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm