broom-sqWhat are invasive species?

Invasive species are plants, animals and microbes that are not native to a region and that tend to out-compete native species for available resources. They often form dense populations and dominate ecosystems. After habitat loss, invasive species are considered to be the second greatest threat to global biological diversity.

Humans cause most spread of invasive species. People transport invasive species to environments that were not previously home to these species due to geographical boundaries. This may occur deliberately (for example, when ornamental plants are imported for gardens), or accidentally (such as when trans-oceanic ships discharge ballast water containing shellfish larvae into a receiving port). Although only a small percentage of species that are introduced into new areas are able to survive, those that do can cause serious problems.

Priority invasive species pose the greatest environmental threats. These species are typically new to a region or haven't spread too far to control or eradicate.

Prevention and early detection/rapid response are two of the most important actions to successfully manage invasive species and their impacts.

Certain invasive species removal programs are part of the CRD's Regional Invasive Species Program. Read below to learn how you can get involved in protecting the natural diversity of our region.

Why are invasive species a threat?

Invasive species spread and can cause significant to the environment, economy, human health and livestock health. Due to location and climate, the capital region has one of the greatest likelihoods of new high-risk invasive introductions in BC, and potentially the highest diversity of invasive species in the province. If left unmanaged, invasive species spread and increase in density, requiring more resources to control and causing greater impacts. Examples of impacts include:

  • watershed and water quality health
  • public health and safety
  • damage to roads, buildings and other infrastructure
  • damage to ecosystems and reduced biodiversity
  • impacts to industries including agriculture

What effect do invasive species have on people?

Some invasive species can cause burns and blindness in humans, or ailments in livestock. The impact of invasive species on ecosystems influences our lives in many ways. The economic costs due to damages and control of the invasions are significant. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has estimated the cost of invasive species to agriculture and forestry industries in Canada at $7.5 billion annually.

What effect do invasive species have on ecosystems?

Normally, plants, animals and microorganisms evolve together in a delicate balance, where one species provides opportunities for, and exerts controls over, other species. Grazing, disease, forest fires and predation are disturbances that help keep populations of species in check. When new species arrive in an environment, they are often in vastly different conditions from their native habitat. Natural constraints (such as predators or climate limitations) may not be present, allowing invasive species to "take over" an area and spread.

When invasive species alter an ecosystem, many of the benefits that people derive from those areas are lost. Invasive species impacts can include:

  • decreased water purification and storage (increased droughts and floods)
  • decreased pollination of crops & pest control
  • decreased soil generation and increased erosion
  • decreased stability and structure of the foreshore and stream edges
  • damaging changes in chemical composition and pH of soil
  • decline of species that rely on native plants or animals that have been displaced by invasives, or species that are preyed upon by invasive animals
  • alteration of fire regimes

How do I report priority invasive species?

The CRD focuses on high priority invasive species. Together, we can work to prevent or eradicate these species from our region.

For priority invasive species, use the following methods to report:

  • Report-a-Weed by calling 1.888.WEEDSBC
  • Report-a-Weed using the province's mobile app for iPhone and Android platforms
  • Report-a-Weed online via the BC government's website

For some high priority invasive species in the capital region, regionally coordinated management programs are in place. Contact us or your local government for details.

Helpful information to report:

  • Local government jurisdiction
  • Exact location (use street address and GPS coordinates if possible)
  • Name of property owner
  • Contact phone number and email
  • Brief description of the site (location on property, size of patch, number of stems)
  • How long the plant has been in this site
  • Photos

For established species on public land:

  • Please keep in mind that established invasive species may be managed by some local jurisdictions, however capacities and budgets vary for this work on public land.
  • Contact your local municipality to find ways to support the management of invasive species on public land. Some local jurisdictions have volunteer invasive species removal programs.
  • We encourage private landowners to manage invasive species on their land as is possible. Local governments may be able to assist with information.

For invasive species on your property, you can work to control them:

  • Know which species you are dealing with. Depending on the species, there are different ways to control and dispose of these plants. Contact the CRD or your municipality for guidance.
  • The methods available for removing invasive species usually involve one or more of the following general techniques: careful cutting or digging, sheet mulching or smothering, and replacement with native species.
  • Most removal methods require a long-term commitment to removing the plant and repeat efforts.

Caution: Some species can cause skins burns, irritation and/or blindness or must be managed in special ways due to their high degree of invasiveness.

How do I safely dispose of invasive species?

Spread the word, not the plant! Carefully dispose of invasive plants in the appropriate way at the appropriate location.

This is critical to help reduce the further spread of invasive species as many invasive species outbreaks start by inappropriate or illegal dumping.

Note: Some invasive species such as giant hogweed, poison hemlock and daphne laurel can be harmful if touched; please ensure you are wearing protective clothing if handling these species.

Hartland Landfill

Invasive species can be disposed of at Hartland Landfill. They must be in bags marked “Invasive Species” or in covered loads.

Knotweed species disposal requires a controlled waste permit (reduced fee), to ensure proper disposal protocols are followed,. For hours and fees, visit: www.crd.bc.ca/hartland

Municipal Drop Off

Some local governments have yard waste drop-off that will take many invasive species. Some may have limitations (i.e. no seeds) and/or restrict certain species. Contact the CRD or your municipality for details.

Note: Knotweed species must not be disposed of at these locations.

Knotweed Species

Free disposal of knotweed species is available as part of the regional invasive species program coordinated by the CRD.

To be part of this program, local government staff or specially trained contractors must treat and dispose of the knotweed. If you have a unique situation and need disposal assistance, please contact us.

What programs are in place for coordinated invasive species management in the capital region?

Effective invasive species management relies on everyone working together. The CRD’s Regional Invasive Species Program provides coordination and support on this issue across the region.

Chaired and coordinated by the CRD, the Capital Region Invasive Species Partnership-Intergovernmental Working Group (CRISP-IWG) is a collaborative intergovernmental working group comprised of local governments, First Nations and other stakeholders working together to address high risk invasive species.

The CRD works with other regional and provincial partners including the Invasive Species Council of BC, regional invasive organizations, major land managers in the capital region and other key partners. Working together, we focus on priority invasive species issues and public outreach. We provide:

  • Regional public outreach on priority invasive species
  • Regional early detection rapid response (EDRR) program to manage priority species
  • Local collaboration and planning
  • Partnerships for effective management

See an invasive species? Please report it.

250.360.3302
Email

Invasive Species Resources:

Emergency Contacts

Emergency Management of BC
1.800.663.3456