Written by Christina Rippon
Have you ever had a guest who wouldn’t leave? They start to take over your space and soon you find their stuff all over the place? That’s kind of what invasive species are like. They come to B.C., take over the landscape and spread harm to the province’s native species and economy. They can outcompete native species and spread quickly, preventing the growth and distribution of native plants. That’s why BC Parks, along with volunteers, is working to limit the spread of invasive species into our parks and reserves.
One group that is working to constrain the diffusion of an invasive species within BC Parks are the Friends of Cortes Island. In late 2016, volunteers worked in Mansons Landing Provincial Park to remove Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) – an escaped garden ornamental with bright, vibrant yellow flowers. The plant common in southwest B.C., west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains and thrives in the sandy coastal ecosystem found in the park, threatening the unique plants that grow in this area. Taking great care (the seeds of Scotch broom are numerous and hardy), the group moved broom offsite and burned it in a gravel pit. They will be doing more work this year and will be holding community sessions to talk about invasive species management in the park and restoring native plant species.
These events were organized as part of a Park Enhancement Fund (PEF) conservation grant. PEF is a special account that was created in 2008 to receive donations related to a specific park or project. Money donated to the PEF can go towards initiatives such as supporting volunteers, enhancing hiking trails, sponsoring a park bench, picnic table or picnic shelter, funding ecological monitoring and research projects.
To learn more about:
Friends of Cortes Island visit: http://www.friendsofcortes.org/
Invasive Species visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/invasive-species or https://bcinvasives.ca/
BC Parks visit: www.bcparks.ca
BC Parks Park Enhancement Fund contact BC Parks: BCParksDonations@gov.bc.ca