Eradication of invasive plants needed

  • Mar. 14, 2008 8:00 p.m.

Some flowering plants like Japanese knotweed, gorse and Scotch broom may look pretty, but eradication is what’s needed according to the Northwest Invasive Plant Council. Program manager Andrea Eastman, who came to the islands for the first time March 5, said she is impressed by the enthusiasm of people here. She and two other directors from the Prince George-based organization came looking for someone to take over the local contract. When Mike Cheney passed away last year, the council lost one of its most enthusiastic contractors, she said. “He did a lot of stuff other contractors would never do,” she said. Mr. Cheney was very keen to eradicate Japanese knotweed, an extremely aggressive plant that can break through concrete and other pavement as it grows. He devised innovative ways to try and rid the islands of this plant without using chemicals. He tried spraying with salt water and covering the plants with sawdust, black plastic and wood chips to keep out the sunlight as well. Mr. Cheney also used a GPS unit to help map the location of invasive plants on the islands. Ms Eastman said finding someone to take over the contract was not easy from far away. So she has set up a local committee to help recommend a new contractor and which would then help guide the contractor to plan and find the critical sites as well as assess the results at the end of the season. When Ms Eastman was on islands she met with the Haida Forest Guardians along with several staff from Parks Canada and local guides. Some other plants to watch for include spotted knapweed, marsh plume thistle and yellow flag iris. The Northwest Invasive Plant Council covers seven northern areas from the Robson Valley to Haida Gwaii. Their goal is to prevent further damage to the ecosystems of northwest and central BC from invasive alien plants and begin to rehabilitate ecosystems that have been degraded by invasive alien plants.