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Invasive Species Council gets down to business

Crew hired to remove invasive species throughout the corridor



Sometimes being green means grabbing a plant and ripping it from the ground, then burning every square inch of it to make sure it can never take root again.

The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council has announced a crew of five employees who will conduct on-the-ground work through the Sea to Sky Corridor, looking for species of plants that don't belong and have a tendency to block out native species. The wanted list includes species like Japanese knotweed and scotch broom in the Squamish area, and knapweed and toadflax as far north as Pemberton.

Many of these species have a tendency to spread through gravel deliveries, propagate quickly and are difficult to destroy - for example, if even a sliver of a Japanese knotweed is left behind the plant will re-establish itself.

The SSISC has put together a list of high priority species through the corridor and divided them into three groups. The first list calls for early detection and rapid response, and includes plants like kudzu, gorse, flowering rush and curled pondweed. The second list calls for removing escapees where possible, acknowledging that some plants are popular among gardeners.

This list includes the knotweeds and scotch broom, as well as plants like English ivy, purple and yellow loosestrife and the yellow flag iris.

The last list is plants that will be monitored, but not steps will be taken to remove or eradicate them at this point.

Crews will also be on the lookout for invasive animal species like the bullfrog - a huge threat to water ecosystems and aquatic species that is already well-established in the Lower Mainland.

The crew is being funded as part of a two-year program by the Invasive Plant Council of B.C. called the Hot Spots Project. The provincial government and federal government are sponsors of the program as part of a province-wide job opportunities program and a federal fund for communities adjusting to the recession.

The Sea to Sky zone ranges from Lions Bay to D'Arcy.

The SSISC already did an inventory of invasive species in the corridor, hiring a crew to do a survey in January and February. All reports of invasive species were mapped and the crew hired this week will be responsible for visiting those areas and removing them, as well as looking for additional species.

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