Summer has given way to the wet chills of autumn. It’s the perfect time to chat about the reality of invasive species in Revelstoke and learn about how changing your behaviour can help stop them.
That bamboo growing rampantly all summer? Known as knotweed (there are three varieties, Japanese, Giant and Bohemian Knotweed) it’s one of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Societes (CSISS) highest priorities.
“Knotweed is very damaging and spreads easy,” explains Sue Davies, the Aquatic Species and Outreach Program Coordinator for the CSISS. “It shades out native plants, its roots grow three meters deep and twenty meters laterally and can push through concrete like house foundations.”
This past summer CSISS volunteers partook in weed pulls at various locations. Davies is quick to note knotweed is not pulled, as digging up the plant has proven futile. “You need to use herbicide, there is no other way,” she says.
The City of Revelstoke has agreed to treat all knotweed on city property, administered by CSISS in an effective and safe way. Landowners with knotweed sharing a city property border have cost sharing options available with the city.
CSISS is active in various efforts to eliminate or stop invasive species. “We apply herbicide contracts, work with highway crews to ensure invasive species aren’t mowed and spread, and collaborate with multiple government
departments to prioritize which sites and species should be treated,” says Davies. “But what makes the most difference is educating people, as humans are the single greatest spreaders of invasive species.”
It’s important to note that while beautiful or cute, invasive species do not benefit the local landscape. A local example? Invasive yellow flag Iris, often mistaken as native cattails, impedes the ability of animals like turtles
and birds, to get from water to land, and do not provide food or nesting for waterfowl.
Invasive mussels are wreaking havoc in Interior lakes. Initiatives have been instigated to try to curb infestation, including one this past summer that requested anyone towing a watercraft to pull over and be inspected. These
inspections were mandatory, so if you ignored the signage, don’t be surprised if a conservation officer knocks on your door. Zebra and Quagga mussels multiply quickly. They have been known to cause tens of millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure such as hydro stations, cause toxic algal blooms in lakes and reduce fish populations.
“There are things you can do this fall to help fight invasive species,” Davies enthuses. “Don’t grow invasive plants. If you have ones that can be pulled, bag them and bring them to the dump where they are buried deeply and
capped, not put in yard waste.”
Check out the app reportinvasivesbc. The app can help you deduce if a plant, animal, insect, bird, fish or amphibian is invasive or not and allows people to post pictures of invasive critters and report their location.
One major reason people choose to live in Revelstoke is because of its surroundings. Let’s make an effort so our actions reflect our words when we talk about how much this place means to us.