Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

December 10th, 2022

With all the good that comes with the December holiday season, it is important not to forget the harm of invasive species to our sensitive ecosystems. English ivy (Hedera helix) and English holly (Ilex aquifolium) are both species you may find adorning many a festive wreath this time of year.

While these plants may be pretty, they both have the potential to seriously harm local ecosystems, especially in developed or previously disturbed areas. Once either of these species become established in an area, they are extremely hard to eradicate and have the potential to spread both quickly and widely through the dispersal of their berries and seeds. They harm ecosystems by outcompeting native vegetation- even our great trees are not safe from being smothered.

English ivy (Hedera helix) overtaking a tree | Credit: J Leekie

The holiday season happens to be when one might find an abundance of festive decorations, so it is important to properly dispose of your ornamentals when the time comes. Bag up the plants separate from anything else, being careful not to allow any seeds or berries to escape, and take them to the appropriate landfill. Be sure to inform staff that you have invasive species to drop off.

If making your own decorations this holiday season consider using native species such as Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa), or Red elderberry (Sambucus racemose subsp. pubens). These are just two examples of native species that are so similar in appearance they are often mistaken for one another.

Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa) | Credit: Matthew Syvenky
Red elderberry (Sambucus racemose subsp. pubens) | Credit: D. Powell, USDA Forest Service,

PlantWise is a provincial program that supports the horticulture industry’s transition to become invasive-free. To learn which plants are invasive, alternatives to grow instead, and which retailers are committing to be PlantWise, visit

About the Author

Matthew Nettle was a dedicated ISCBC volunteer and member of the UVic Ecological Restoration Club. He contributed to invasive species management in a number of ways, including undertaking on-the-ground invasive species removal and writing articles to spread awareness, like this one!

Become a Youth Volunteer!

Join like-minded young adults to plan and carry out real-world activities. Support our goal to support healthy habitats and communities, keeping them free of invasive species. Learn more about becoming a youth volunteer!


October 29th, 2022

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you experience the nature around you?

My passions and interests are all related to plants in some way or another. I am a plant tender and concocter, which includes gardening, seed saving, and restoration; and fermenting, medicine making, and natural dyes. 

I completed a diploma of Phytotherapy (Western Herbal Medicine) at Pacific Rim College in 2019. I specifically love to work with native plant species because they are local, accessible, and are special. That relates to invasive species in the sense that I deeply want to preserve the native (plant) species and grow them to prevent straining the local populations if harvesting. Shortly after graduating, I began working at a food security non-profit and joined as an ISCBC youth volunteer. This plant path has led me to have had the opportunity to work with ISCBC for almost a year now. 

What do you like about volunteering and what inspired you to take action?

The flexibility in volunteering has been a big draw for me. The youth volunteer program is accessible, which has made it possible to attend both virtual and in-person events whenever I get the chance to. I joined as a volunteer in July 2019 because invasive species have always been an interest of mine and they affect so much of the other interests I have related to plants and the environment. 

What would you say to a potential volunteer?

It is a fantastic volunteer opportunity if you have a passion or a curiosity to learn about invasive species and want to take local action. The combination of knowledgeable staff, resources, and networking opportunities provide a great hub for getting involved in accessible ways (virtually or in-person). 

If you could choose to have one invasive species eradicated forever, which would it be and why? 

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) because it was the first invasive species I learned about. I grew up in the Cowichan region and specifically remember my dad teaching me about how invasive Scotch broom was over 20 years ago. That opened my eyes to it at an early age and has kept the spread on my radar ever since, which has been devastating to experience.

Become a Youth Volunteer!

Join like-minded young adults to plan and carry out real-world activities. Support our goal to support healthy habitats and communities, keeping them free of invasive species. Learn more about becoming a youth volunteer!


By Steven Hayward, Callie Bouchard & Ksenia Kolodka | June 22nd, 2022

The protection of endangered species is critical to restoring biodiversity, especially in places where there is an infestation of invasive species. Our Stronger BC Action Teams have been hard at work removing various invasive species around the province and, along the way, they have found some interesting endangered native plants.

The Nanaimo Action Team and Campbell River Action Team met up at Oyster Bay Shoreline Park, a coastal meadow near Campbell River from May 3-5, 2022 to remove Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum). These species have negatively impacted the biodiversity of the park by displacing native plants.

Oyster Bay Shoreline Park is a recovered logging camp marked with sensitive ecosystem signs, as the endangered flower Deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidei) was translocated here to help recover and replenish the species. Based on their conservation status rank, each species and ecosystem is assigned to the red, blue or yellow list to help set conservation priorities and provide a simplified view of their status. Deltoid balsamroot is an S2 provincially imperiled species that is red-listed, which means it is at high risk of being endangered or lost in the near future. Its current distribution is limited to populations scattered throughout Victoria, Cowichan and Campbell River.

Deltoid balsamroot

This park is also home to Coastal triquetrella (Triquetrella californica) moss. This is an S1S2 provincially critically imperiled species that is also red-listed. This species’ current distribution in BC is known only in two populations; Campbell River and Galiano Island. It was found on the sandy backshores of Oyster Bay Shoreline Park and had Purple deadnettle encroaching on it, which our Action Teams removed along with Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry. 

Coastal triquetrella

In total, the teams removed just under 25 bags of Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry, and Purple deadnettle.

Before: Himalayan blackberry bushes
After: Himalayan blackberry removal
The result of hard work by our Nanaimo and Campbell River Action Teams!

Across BC, Canada and the world, invasive species pose the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. Experience with our Stronger BC Action Teams gives people looking for work in this province skills in invasive species management, setting them up for success in the environmental protection field. The hard work of our Action Teams is greatly appreciated! Check out our website later this summer to read more accomplishments of our Action Teams.

Ksenia is a Community Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about nature conservation and taking film photos of the beautiful natural landscapes of BC. You can reach Ksenia at  

Steven Hayward is an Action Team Supervisor for ISCBC working on the ground to remove, manage, and prevent the spread of invasive species on Vancouver Island.


By Ksenia Kolodka & Katie Swinwood | June 9th, 2022

“Working with community scientists gives us a chance to interact with people with a wide variety of perspectives and broaden the reach and scope of our research to places that we wouldn’t normally be able to work.”  

Paul Abram, Research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada 


During fall time, you may have seen these shield-shaped bugs around your doorways or windows trying to find a warm place to settle down for the winter. If you accidentally step on them, you may notice they emit an awful odour. These are stink bugs – some are native, but some, like the Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) are invasive.

Invasive Brown marmorated stink bug | Credit: L. Buss
Native stink bug look-alikes | Credit: Gov. of B.C.

What is the Brown marmorated stink bug?

The Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive agricultural pest that can be found in BC’s Lower Mainland, Okanagan Valley, Columbia-Shuswap region, and Vancouver Island. BMSBs can be identified from other native stink bugs by their shield shape, white bands on their last two antenna segments, and white markings on their abdomen. Female bugs can lay up to 400 eggs during the summer on host plants. There can be up to two generations of bugs in a year if the weather is warm enough. The bugs mature in about five weeks, and then lay eggs the following spring. BMSBs spread by “hitchhiking” on vehicles, cargo containers, wood, and packing material. They can also be found on or in buildings and other protected areas over the winter. 

Brown marmorated stink bug

Impacts of BMSB  

The BMSB has a broad diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, seeds, green plants, and tree bark. They are especially a concern for orchard farmers, as BMSBs inject enzymes into fruits and vegetables that cause them to rot. Symptoms of a BMSB infestation include: deformed and discoloured fruits and seeds, shriveled berries and seeds, delayed maturity, increased sap flow and discoloured tree bark.  

Project details  

The Brown marmorated stink bug is controlled in its home region of Asia by the Samurai wasp (Trissolcus japonicus). While this parasitic wasp favors the invasive brown marmorated stink bug, it may also attack stink bugs native to British Columbia. The Samurai wasp was recently discovered in British Columbia and has the potential to be an effective biocontrol method for the Brown marmorated stink bug.  The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food and scientists at Agri-Food Canada are looking for volunteers to collect the eggs of Brown marmorated stink bugs and other native stink bug species from June to the end of August, 2022. 

Brown marmorated stink bug eggs | Credit: Gary Bernon, USDA,

Impact of the project

Collecting the eggs will help determine whether Samurai wasps have parasitized stink bug eggs in British Columbia and if so, where this has occurred. Paul Abram, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada states that “Working with community scientists gives us a chance to interact with people with a wide variety of perspectives and broaden the reach and scope of our research to places that we wouldn’t normally be able to work. We often learn things about our study systems that we otherwise never would by interacting with people about their insect finds.” 

Reporting info 

The best places to look for egg masses are on the undersides of leaves of trees and shrubs that have small developing fruits or seeds, like maple trees, dogwoods and raspberries. However, stink bugs lay on a variety of different plant species. The total size of an egg cluster will be no larger than a dime. If you spot a stink bug around, it can be a sign that you will find eggs. If you find an egg mass, take a photo of it, put it in a small sealed container, and submit the photo and any other information here: If what you found is confirmed to be a BMSB egg mass, then you will be contacted with instructions to send the sample to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. 

For more information about the project:  

Coastal BC:

Interior BC: 

For more information about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug:

See our BMSB fact sheet here

BSMB life cycle

Ksenia is a Community Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about nature conservation and taking film photos of the beautiful natural landscapes of BC. You can reach Ksenia at  

Katie is the Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She is grateful to live, work and play in Nelson on the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt and Syilx peoples. In her spare time, you can find her adventuring in the woods with her dog. You can reach Katie at


By Ksenia Kolodka | June 3rd, 2022

Since the start of May, our Stronger BC Action Teams have been in the field managing and removing invasive species in nine BC communities including Campbell River, Nanaimo, Surrey, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Quesnel, Nelson, and Cranbrook. What they do in a day makes a measurable difference on the ground. It takes a special person to oversee each project, guide the field team, lead on safety, and inspire this important work. 

From completing paperwork behind-the-scenes, to managing a group of Action Team members, to pulling up sturdy bushes of Himalayan blackberry, our Action Team supervisors are more like superheroes.  

One month into the 2022 field season, we caught up with a few of these key leaders, as they get into the weeds with their teams. If you’ve ever wondered what makes someone interested in working with invasive species or you’re curious about a memorable day in the field, Lindy Lin, Callie Bouchard, Torin Kelly and Briana Walter share some fascinating tales!  Say hello to four of our fabulous 2022 Action Team supervisors!  

What made you interested in working with invasive species? 

Lindy: When I was still in Selkirk College Recreation, Fish and Wildlife program last summer, I wanted to work in a position that would make a positive change to our natural environment, so I worked as a Nelson Action Team member last summer and felt really fulfilled after the work term. 

Callie: I became interested in invasive species through all the time I spend in the outdoors and gradually watching more invasive plants take over more space than the native plants I grew up enjoying, so keeping things under control as much as I can and keeping BCs biodiversity strong has become more and more important to me over the last few years. 

Torin: In school when we learned about invasive species impact on BC’s biodiversity, it really kick-started my interest with invasive species (plants & animals). I also figured it would be my active contribution to helping slow the effects of climate change in BC. 

Briana: I have been interested in working with the environment for a long time. Working with invasive species is one way we can help protect BCs natural biodiversity and I want for play a part! My background is marine biology, so I am especially interested in the management of the European green crab, as well as the different Invasive fish species that are around. 

What has been your most memorable site so far?  

Lindy: A Scotch broom site in a small community in Glade, BC, about 20 minutes north of Castlegar.. Our team in 2021 removed a patch of Scotch broom on MOTI (Ministry of Transportation and Industry) right of way. Then we returned to the site to monitor and reapply manual treatment a week ago, when only small plants and shoots were visible. The treatment success and visible difference from the 2021 mass manual treatment was very satisfying. The residents in the area remembered us and were very thankful for our efforts because the site was adjacent to their agricultural property.  

Callie: Most memorable site so far is a Retention Pond that will soon be a Park.  It’s home to many ducks and this spring has brought many sweet ducklings that have been a joy to watch grow. 

Torin: Beautiful Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. We surveyed the trails and campground and found nothing but beautiful views and some very confident Canada jays who were hungry for my grapes. It was also a great time to learn about my teams’ different interests in the natural world.

Torin Kelly

Briana: The Surrey action team has had a lot of really great sites. The most memorable so far this year is Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver.  We were involved in mapping and treating large and small bunches of Holly, laurel, and blackberry. It gave us a great sense of our purpose in an ecological restoration area, gaining mapping experience and knowing our work was making a difference. It was super memorable too because we got caught in an absolute downpour. When we finished work, everyone was dripping! This was great as we worked really hard during the downpour, and it really showed how amazing everyone’s work ethic is. 

Briana Walter

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue environmental work? 

Lindy: If you have the desire to help the environment, no matter how big or how little, just follow your passion, because the rewards you receive from mother nature are more than you can imagine. 

Callie: Volunteer! Find the things that you are passionate about and do what you can to get involved. Read books and articles and become knowledgeable about what you want to pursue before you go to Uni if that is your decision. The more real-world experience and networking you do, the more you will succeed 

Torin: Volunteer with a local non-profit, whether they are focused on invasive species, salmon habitat, or species at risk. All non-profits are looking for passionate volunteers, to bring their experience and knowledge. It is a great way to get amazing work experience without paying for school. I finished my Bachelors of Science in ecological restoration, but still find I get more out of the two-day volunteer workshops that many non-profits put on around fish sampling, plant surveying, bird counts, and so much more. 

Briana: My advice for someone who wants to work in the environmental field is to get field experience and choose to study something you’re interested in. The field experience helps tremendously because you will gain a range of different skills that will apply to many of the jobs you’re seeking. Choosing something you love to study is important too, as there are so many different programs out there, and many of them will land you a job in the environment field, not just an environmental science degree. 

Lindy Lin

What is your favourite song or podcast to listen to while completing field work?  

Lindy: We don’t often listen to music or podcasts because our work sites are usually where the wildlife like to hang out, so we need to pay attention to our surroundings, and each other. Besides, we have nature to listen to, that’s our best choice of music or podcasts.   

Callie: I love to listen to either audio books or podcasts. Ologies is a great podcast as you learn something new every time. For audio books it’s a great time to catch up on books I want to read or this month’s book club pick! 

Torin: Podcast: Ologies, song: Things I Thought Were Mine – Alfie Templeman 

Briana: I have two. Ologies is a great podcast as it goes over a bunch of different science topics for each episode. I also love this podcast will kill you. It’s all about different health issues that humans have faced and all the facts about it. I find it super fascinating! 

Across BC, Canada and the world, invasive species pose the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. Experience with our Stronger BC Action Teams gives people looking for work in this province skills in invasive species management, setting them up for success in the environmental protection field.  

Ksenia is a Community Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about nature conservation and taking film photos of the beautiful natural landscapes of BC. You can reach Ksenia at  


By Ksenia Kolodka | May 09, 2022

May is Invasive Species Action Month (ISAM) and that means we need YOU to take action! It’s easy to do your part, here are the 5 easiest ways to help protect BC’s biodiversity this month:

1 – Become a Community Scientist! Sign up for “Community Science Connections” and we’ll send you a monthly newsletter with the latest in invasive species news and great ways to get involved in your community. Sign up here. 

2 – Learn something new in 30 minutes! We have a whole catalogue of FREE online e-courses. These online lessons are designed to teach anyone and everyone about invasive species prevention and management. Check out our two most recent additions – learn about European green crab an opportunistic invasive crab that’s taking over BC’s coasts and our course for anglers – an informative course for fishing enthusiasts on how they can be responsible as they get their latest catch.

3 – Donate! From as little as $10 a month you can help us make a big difference in protecting our natural spaces and BC’s biodiversity! Donate here. 

4 – Observe and Report! Download the iNaturalist app and join the “I Spy and Identify” project. Log your observations of animals, plants, insects and other living things when you’re out exploring nature, share with fellow naturalists, and discuss your findings! You could observe a new species in your area – whether it be native or invasive, all observations are a great contribution to community science!  

5 – Enter to Win! Take part in our What’s in Your Backyard (WIMBY0 photo contest by sharing photos of the invasive species you find in your community on Instagram or Twitter using #WIMBY2022, or enter via the website here! You could win $500 toward your favourite local outdoors store! 

Matthew Syvenky submitted this photo of European rabbits to the #WIMBY2022 contest!

Ksenia is a Community Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about nature conservation and taking film photos of the beautiful natural landscapes of BC. You can reach Ksenia at


By Janelle Bode | Edited by Jana Rolland | May 09, 2022

We’re not the only ones looking forward to the return of warm spring weather- Northern giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia)  may soon be poking their heads out to enjoy the sunshine, too. This invasive insect is the largest species of hornet in the world and brings with it many potential negative impacts to native North American flora and fauna.  

Northern giant hornets typically nest in underground cavities or tree stumps and feast on insects and honeybees. As new queens emerge from their winter hideouts to search for spring nesting opportunities, they’ll be hungry for carbs like tree sap and may even try to feed from hummingbird feeders. 

Beekeepers in the commercial pollinating industry are particularly concerned about the impacts Northern giant hornets may have on BC’s native pollinators, and what effects a growing population could have on our agriculture in the future. Keeping up with the hornet’s activity through the spring and preventing its establishment in the province is critical to protecting the health and wellbeing of our native ecosystems.  

Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) nest. Credit: WSDA
Northern giant hornet History in BC 

First detected in Nanaimo in 2019, Northern giant hornets are believed to have arrived on container ships. This first nest was quickly destroyed, and Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands were declared free of this invasive insect. But the situation on the mainland turned out differently when, that same year, a single hornet was collected in White Rock, BC and then in late 2019 one was found in Blaine, Washington. Since then, both sides of the Canada-US border have been scoured, and a small number of specimens found in the area between 2019 and 2021. 

Luckily for our native pollinators, DNA sequencing studies of these hornets revealed that the nests were closely genetically related. Provincial Apiculturalist for BC, Paul van Westendorp, has set and monitored hornet traps in this region for years. He calls this finding significant: “Close relatedness limits the hornet’s future viability to establish a viable pest population.” 

ISCBC is planning to work with Paul to set and monitor traps again in 2022 to continue monitoring the status of the Northern giant hornet in the BC-Washington border region. 

Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) nest removal, 2021
What You Can Do 

We need your observations! The best way to keep tabs on these insects is through visual surveys and reports. We are asking that community scientists assist in our monitoring efforts and be on the lookout for Northern giant hornet queens. If you have a hummingbird feeder keep both an ear and an eye out this spring! 

Dr Nick Wong, ISCBC’s Senior Lead, Science, describes the insect’s unique features that make it easy to recognize: “While on the lookout for Northern giant hornets, look for a large orange head with prominent black eyes and large jaws. Queens can be up to 4-5 cm in length with a black and orange striped abdomen. The thorax (where the legs and wings attach) is dark brown or black, and the wings are tinted dark brown.”  

Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)
Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)

Please report any sightings through the Report Invasives App or the ISCBC website. Include a photo if possible!  

Our native pollinators will thank you.  

Janelle is a Research & Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about ecological restoration and sharing information with others about invasive species. You can reach Janelle at


Beautiful BC’s Waterways – Silent Threats 

As the days get longer, many of us are looking forward to getting out on the water. Whether it be a long-awaited fishing trip up north or a blue bird day on a sunny interior lake, we can’t wait! BC’s aquatic ecosystems are amazing, ranging from big coastal rivers to small inland lakes, mountain streams and remote hot springs. These waters support an incredible array of native biodiversity—from aquatic invertebrates and plants to fish, frogs, turtles, mammals and birds. They also support economically and culturally important salmon and trout species. 

As travel opens up, many of us will move around in search of adventure and connections with nature. However, the travel we love can create opportunities for aquatic invasive species to come along uninvited, by hitching a ride on your boat, in your bilgewater, and on your gear. Invasive species pose the second largest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss and cost Canada billions of dollars a year in damages. Aquatic invasive species can destroy salmon spawning habitats, outcompete native species for food, and even consume native species! Prevention is the only effective method of controlling aquatic invasive species, as once they become established in a water body it is almost impossible to get rid of them.  

Aquatic invasive species to watch out for: 

Zebra and Quagga Mussels – Not Yet In BC! 

These two species of freshwater mussels made their way to North America on cargo ships from the Mediterranean and Black Seas. After infiltrating the Great Lakes, these species quickly spread across most of eastern North America, mainly by hitching rides on boats, trailers and gear. One mussel can lay as many a one million eggs, and young mussels – called veligers – are microscopic and can survive in bilge and ballast water. These mussels attach to every available surface, costing billions of dollars in damages to water treatment infrastructure, irrigation lines and industry. They also deplete the nutrients in surrounding waters and their sharp shells can make beaches unusable, posing an enormous threat to tourism and property values. BC has established boat inspection stations at the provincial borders and all watercrafts MUST stop for inspection. In 2021, nearly two dozen mussel contaminated boats were detected at boat inspection stations, and these cases will increase as more boaters hit the water. It is critical to Clean, Drain and Dry all watercraft before entering a new water body – we must prevent the spread! 

Yellow Perch, Bass and Northern Pike  

As far as invasive fish go, northern pike, yellow perch and small and large-mouth bass are heavy hitters. With one of the largest appetites in the freshwater world, these fish threaten salmon and trout populations by consuming them and outcompeting them for food. These fish can tolerate a range of aquatic conditions and have no natural predators in BC waters. Perch, bass and pike are often introduced by anglers trying to “stock” their favourite lakes to fish, not realizing the potential impact to native species. Once introduced to a water body, management is virtually impossible. It is illegal to move live fish or use live bait in BC!  

If you catch or spot these fish, contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters line (RAPP) 1-(877)-952-7277 to report.  

Yellow perch. Credit: M Herborg
Northern pike. Credit: G Mittenecker
Largemouth bass. Credit:

Whirling Disease 

Whirling disease is a microscopic parasite that has serious impacts on juvenile trout and other fish species. The parasite infects the spinal column, causing the fish to swim around in “whirling” patterns, and having a blackened tail or “bent” appearance. Whirling disease was introduced to Pennsylvania from Europe in 1956 and has spread to many parts of North America, including Alberta. Whirling disease has been found in live bait shops and even pet stores. This serious disease can cause up to 90% mortality for juvenile fish in susceptible populations. 

Whirling disease is spread to new waterbodies by fouled boats and contaminated angling gear such as waders, boots, and tackle. Anglers can do their part to prevent the spread of whirling disease by avoiding the use of live bait, cleaning catch where it was caught, and disposing of fish parts into the garbage as the parasite can spread from bait and unused parts of a harvested fish. It’s also critical that anglers Clean, Drain and Dry every piece of their equipment after use, and that felt-soled waders be cleaned with gear cleansing detergent such as Tech Wash ®.   

Whirling disease infected juvenile trout. Credit: State of Colorado via Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

Eurasian Watermilfoil  

Milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that can spread and reproduce from seeds, buds, roots, and even tiny plant fragments.  It grows in thick, dense mats that alter habitats by crowding out native species, reducing oxygen levels and impeding water flow. This causes negative impacts to biodiversity and reduces salmon and trout habitat.  Eurasian watermilfoil can also cause park and lake closures, as heavily-infested lakes create a drowning risk for swimmers and may damage boat motors.  

Eurasian watermilfoil is spread by plant fragments that cling to trailers, boats and gear. Prevent the spread by avoiding boating through infested areas and inspecting your boat and trailer before moving to any new waterbody. Ensure that all parts of your boat, trailer, and vehicle have been thoroughly cleaned, drained and dried before departure. Anglers should also be aware of snagging milfoil while fishing and ensuring all lures, lines and equipment are cleaned before departing the area.  

Eurasian watermilfoil. Credit: A Fox

Yellow Flag Iris 

Yellow flag iris is a riparian plant with beautiful yellow flowers that was introduced in water gardens by the horticultural industry. It can quickly take over a wetland, marsh, pond or shoreline, crowding out native species and reducing habitat for native plants, birds and amphibians. Watch for this all-yellow iris and report it! 

Yellow flag iris. Credit: L Scott

What Can We Do? Simple Actions to Stop the Spread! 

Clean Drain Dry! 

As a boater, always remember to Clean, Drain and Dry all gear, clothing, boats, vehicles, and trailers before traveling to a new waterbody to ensure you don’t bring invasive species along with you. Build in some time at the end of every trip on the water to follow these best practices for preventing the spread of invasives. 

Always stop at the boat inspection stations throughout the province to ensure that you are not transporting invasive species by mistake.  

Don’t Let it Loose! 

Never release any pets into the wild, or dump aquarium water or plant parts into water bodies. Invasive species such as the red-eared slider turtle, goldfish, American bullfrog and parrots’ feather were introduced by aquarium dumping.   

Never introduce any fish to a water body or use live bait when fishing – it is illegal and can introduce invasive species that will damage habitats and native species.  


One of the most important things you can do to protect ecosystems is to report the invasive species you come across. Download the Report Invasives BC or iNaturalist apps to easily submit your observations. Your reporting contributes to knowledge of where species occur and can alert specialists and land managers to respond to outbreaks quickly.  To learn more about how to use these reporting tools, go to 

Enjoy BCs beautiful waters and do your part to protect these amazing ecosystems from aquatic invasive species! 

The Invasive-Wise Tourism Program is a partnership between Invasive Species Council of BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Funding for the program was provided through Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the Canadian Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk.