Town council hears from weed expert

The first step in a weed control program for Clearwater would be to map an inventory of the problem sites

“It’s probably not a surprise but you guys have weeds here.”

That was the news Jo-Ann Fox, coordinator for the Southern Interior Weed Management Committee, brought to District of Clearwater council last Tuesday.

Fox had been invited by council to discuss a possible control program for invasive plants.

Councilor Jon Kreke was particularly interested in controlling yellow iris, a semi-aquatic plant that is taking over around Dutch Lake.

Controlling the plant would be difficult, said Fox, but could be done. The first year would involve “dead-heading” the flowers so they can’t set seed.

In the second year, crews would pull up the plants and cut them to pieces.

More checks and treatments would be done in following years.

With enough volunteers, the first phase could be done in a weekend, she said.

However, permission would have to be obtained from all the landowners involved before anything could be done.

The first step in a weed control program for Clearwater would be to map an inventory of the problem sites, Fox said.

These would be graded on a four-point scale, depending on the opportunity to control the weeds.

Her committee has 43 weed species on its list in four categories, ranging from most to least invasive.

The site inventory would then be combined with the weed species list to produce a matrix that would identify the priority places to treat.

One strategy that they have been having success with is what Fox called a partnership delivery program. This would mean that all the agencies that do weed control in a particular area, such as Ministry of Transportation, Forestry, BC Hydro and so on, would work together in one coordinated project, rather than hiring separate contractors.

“We try to hire locals and get landowners involved,” Fox said. “You get more bang for the buck.”

Although outside municipal boundaries, the invasive plant specialist said another priority area for her is Wells Gray Park.

“I fear for the park,” she said.

Councilor Merlin Blackwell, who operates the campgrounds in the park, said ox-eye daisies are getting more common there and hawkweed is moving into the meadows at the Ray Farm.

 

The Southern Interior Weed Management Committee is comprised of volunteer members representing private and public agencies, clubs and organizations. More information is at www.siwmc.ca on the Internet.