Invasive plant projects successful in Thompson-Nicola

A $2.2-million pilot project began this spring and will continue into 2020

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

MERRITT – Significant progress is being made to manage invasive plant species in the Thompson-Nicola region, as part of a $2.2-million pilot project that began this spring and will continue into 2020.

The pilot project is specifically designed to explore new ways of managing invasive plants over a longer period of time and complements ongoing efforts to contain and eradicate spotted knapweed and other invasive plants on both Crown land and private land in the Interior.

“Protecting Ecosystem Health and Agricultural Values: A Strategy for Crown Land Invasive Plant Management in the Thompson Nicola” is being implemented by the B.C. government in partnership with the BC Cattlemen’s Association, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the newly formed Thompson Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee.

READ MORE: Management plan for Thompson-Nicola

The three-year project helps support B.C.’s ranching industry and rural communities in the region affected by the spread of non-native plants. These species can inhibit the growth of native plants and have a negative impact on grazing areas and the health of grassland ecosystems.

Government staff have hosted meetings this year with stakeholders, private landowners and First Nations to update the Thompson-Nicola region’s invasive plant inventory, identify management priorities and co-ordinate treatment plans.

To date, about 1,300 km of forest service roads in the Thompson-Nicola region have been surveyed and treated this year (covering about 779 hectares), 625 sites containing critical invasive species were controlled (covering about 17 hectares) and an additional 53 hectares of land were surveyed to determine whether invasive plants were present.

In addition, expanded invasive plant treatments conducted by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure addressed invasive plants along 250 km of right-of-way (covering about 175 hectares), including over 30 km adjacent to treated private lands (covering about 13 hectares). The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also treated 39 gravel pits within the Thompson-Nicola region, removing invasive plants from about 15 hectares of priority sites.

Tasks accomplished so far in 2017 include:

• improving engagement with Thompson-Nicola stakeholders affected by invasive plants.

• participating in the establishment of a new, multi-stakeholder Thompson Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee, which will help co-ordinate invasive plant management for the region, develop a strategic plan, help educate stakeholders and others about invasive plants, and serve as the public’s primary source of invasive plant information.

• planning invasive plant treatments to address provincial, regional, and local priorities such as spotted knapweed.

• focusing treatment on areas where invasive plants are spreading within the Thompson-Nicola region, and subsequently targeting affected roadsides, pull-outs, rest areas, gravel pits and trailheads.

• conducting broad treatments along roadways for established species like spotted knapweed, in addition to spot treatments of new invaders.

• protecting substantive invasive plant control investments on private land adjacent to Crown land, through targeted treatments of buffer areas and a co-ordinated “good neighbour” approach.

Over the course of the three-year Thompson-Nicola project, funding will also support research on invasive plant management at Thompson Rivers University, with the goal of identifying new ways to treat invasive plants and restore ecosystems damaged by these non-native plants.

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