Knotweed control project wraps up

  • Jul. 1, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Provincial invasive plant specialists were in Charlotte last week to wrap up a knotweed eradication pilot project, the results of which will likely lead to widespread public consultation.”It’s in the province’s hands to educate the public…We want people to understand the problems, the risks, the treatment method, and how it’s going to be done,” said Charlotte Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber of the knotweed situation.Last week, Invasive Plant Specialist Denise McLean and Provincial Invasive Plant Officer Val Miller, both of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, did a final herbicide application to a patch of knotweed beside the Charlotte village office that they’ve been monitoring for the last year.According to Ms McLean’s Haida Gwaii Knotweed Herbicide Treatment document from July 2013, knotweed species have been present on Haida Gwaii since 1957. Infestations on-island threaten infrastructure and environment. Knotweed shoots and root pieces can re- sprout, causing plants to spread rapidly, with roots pushing through cracks in pipes, roads and building foundations.These plants have the ability to crowd out native vegetation and infest stream banks making them vulnerable to erosion, the report says, making the invasion a serious risk to native island species.Charlotte’s Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber said the province’s herbicide application has been “very controlled and effective,” with the specialists using stem injection and direct leaf application on their test site .Although the results of herbicide application show its effectiveness, Mr. Weeber acknowledges there are valid concerns in the community regarding the safety of its use. He said he hopes the province will consult with all communities where knotweed is problematic before an eradication strategy begins.”This is a big deal and a controversial issue and we need to make sure everyone gets their say, then we can go from there,” he said, “We need a focussed discussion, where we identify the problem areas and identify treatments, that’s done in a way that’s fair to the communities.”

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