June 20, 2018 – Williams Lake. With the warm weather favouring BC’s backyard gardeners and water garden enthusiasts, the Invasive Species Council of BC is reminding the public to be careful when selecting plants and animals for their ponds and gardens.
“Over 60% of invasive plants are spread by people through our everyday activities including our hobbies such as gardening and water garden landscaping. We can make ‘plant wise’ choices and ensure that we do not purchase or trade invasive plants. By doing so we then we don’t have to spend years trying to control or remove them.” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC).
Some species listed on the provincial noxious weed list, such as flowering rush, can sometimes be found in retail garden centres. Flowering rush is regarded as one of the top five worst invasive alien plants in Canada due to its major ecological impact on natural ecosystems. Flowering rush is an alert species as it has already been found in British Columbia but is not yet established. The public is asked to help prevent the spread of this high priority plant by reporting any sightings and by never planting flowering rush in water gardens. Other common garden and water garden species that are considered invasive and should be avoided include periwinkle, English ivy, yellow archangel, mountain bluet, goldfish, red-eared slider turtle, and yellow flag iris.
As part of the Council’s popular PlantWise and Don’t Let It Loose programs, the Council urges the public to garden using only non-invasive species to prevent the spread of unwanted and invasive plants and animals into the environment. The public can access resources and information by visiting the Council’s website at bcinvasives.ca.
The cost of invasive species to Canada is between $16.6 billion and $34.5 billion per year. In British Columbia, just six invasive plants caused an estimated combined damage of at least $65 million in 2008. With further spread, impacts will more than double to $139 million by 2020.
About the Invasive Species Council of BC
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) has been working to minimize the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species for more than 10 years. The Council’s goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit bcinvasives.ca.