On July 22nd 40 people toured “weed hot spots” in Chilliwack to see where invasive plants are taking over local natural ecosystems.
Gord Gadsden, FVRD Parks, explaining to weed tour participants the negative impacts of yellow flag-iris at Cheam Lake Wetlands Park.
With expert guidance from the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) and the Fraser Valley Invasive Plant Council (FVIPC) they saw how yellow flag-iris creates thickets like cattails, excluding native wetland species and threatening plant and animal diversity. They learned how Japanese knotweed has extremely vigorous rhizomes that form a deep and dense (2 m deep by 7 m wide) mat, can resprout from stem or root fragments 1 cm long and when these fragments fall into water, can create new infestations downstream. They saw the dangerous giant hogweed, learning that the sap from this plant burns the skin and can cause permanent scarring. They expressed delight and awe to see cinnabar moth larvae (a biological control agent) defoliating the toxic tansy ragwort. They were relieved to hear that things are being done about these and other invasive plant species that threaten ecosystem diversity, agricultural crops, water quality, and recreational activities in the Fraser Valley.
FVRD student crews and FVIPC “Hot Spots” crews (funded through the Invasive Plant Council of BC) are out there conducting on-the-ground invasive plant inventory and removal. If you see them, feel free to stop and talk to them!