How EKISC Manages

Invasive Species

Who is Responsible For Their Prevention and Management

 

The quick answer – we all are! As property owners, recreationalists, business, industry and government – we all have an interest in a landscape that is free of invasive species.

In the East Kootenay, EKISC is the lead organization for management of invasive plants on Crown land jurisdiction and has recently started becoming involved in the management of Aquatic Invasive Species in the region's rivers, lakes, and streams.

We partner with other organizations in the region that also have an interest in, and make efforts to, manage invasive species.

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is the organization responsible for assisting private landowners in tackling invasive plants on their lands. The RDEK also responds to complaints of invasive plant infestations on private land and conducts compliance and enforcement activities in this regard, according to its own regulatory bylaw.

The Crown Land Invasive Plant Management program is our core program. EKISC receives funding on an annual basis from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the BC Ministry of Environment, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, BC Hydro, and Fortis BC for invasive plant treatments on Highways, BC Parks, Forest Service Roads, Rangeland and Utility Corridors and Right of Ways.

EKISC is responsible for the planning, coordination and monitoring of many Crown land invasive plant treatments on the behalf of each of these organizations. EKISC also hires and supervises contractors who carry out the treatments on Crown land. Most treatments that occur on Crown Land are done using either mechanical or chemical treatment methods.  The use of herbicides is the most effective and commonly used tool by EKISC.

To improve delivery of the program, the region is divided up into several, more workable, Invasive Plant Management Areas (IPMAs). Priority invasive plant lists and sites are developed for each IPMA and annual work plans direct contractor’s energies within the areas. Because EKISC has limited resources, it cannot treat every species and every infestation in each IPMA. For this reason, detailed work plans with very clear priorities are developed. The annual work plans are all developed in accordance with EKISC’s Strategic Guidance Document which serves as the blueprint for all ground treatments over the next five years.

Treatment and Control

EKISC uses a coordinated approach for the control of invasive species by all agencies, landowners, and individuals involved in invasive species management within the Regional District of East Kootenay.  The plan is based on the principle of Adaptive Management and thus is not a finite product, but rather an evolving document.  The plan will be periodically updated as new information becomes available which will reflect changes in invasive species infestations, advancement of management options, and changes in EKISC objectives.

 

Adaptive Management is a "structured, iterative process of optimal decision making in the face of uncertainty, with an aim to reducing uncertainty over time via system monitoring.”

 

There are many methods used in the East Kootenay to control invasive species once they become established. The most effective strategy usually involves a combination of methods, which is consistent with Integrated Pest Management principles. For Aquatic Invasive Species, the only truly effective method of control is prevention.

For invasive plant control, there are four basic methods of control that are employed. The decision to use one over another depends on several factors that can include; cost, site specifics, size of infestation, type of invasive plant, and management goals and objectives.

Biological

The introduction of living, natural predators such as insects, fungi and plant pathogens to attack specific invasive plants. 

Chemical

The careful application of herbicides to disrupt growth and destroy invasive plants.

Mechanical

Includes tilling, hoeing, mowing, grazing, cutting, burning, digging and hand pulling of invasive plants

Cultural

Includes crop rotation, use of fertilizer and planting of native species to increase competition. This also includes preventative measures and changes in behaviours to prevent the spread and establishment of invasive plants. 

Priority 1 (P1) sites and species: 
  • Rare occurrences;

  • The ability to eradicate with current resources

  • New invader

  • Invasiveness / aggressive nature

  • Risk to values  (eg: habitat susceptibility, economics)

  • Proximity to weed free areas

The goal for P1 is to receive two treatments every year with the long-term objective of eradicating the infestations.  All sites are treated (with Agency approval) with pooled resource funding regardless of whether the Agency contributes funding or not. The overall intent is for invasive plant eradication.

Priority 2 (P2) sites and species: 
  • Species well established in the IPMA

  • Specific isolated populations in an otherwise un-infested area

  • Areas that present vectors for spread (roads, trails, camping areas, etc.);

  • Crown lands adjacent to private properties that are actively managing their weeds;

  • adjacency of P1 species

P2 sites are only treated on jurisdictions that contribute funding to the Partnership Delivery Model. Treatment of P2 sites and species are relative to funding provided for treatments. If funding is lacking or insufficient, then some sites and jurisdictions will not receive treatments.

Priority 3 (P3) sites and species:

  • Either under biocontrol or are widespread throughout the East Kootenay

  • These sites may be targeted for biocontrol.

  • These sites will typically receive minimal to no chemical or mechanical treatment unless they pose specific environmental, health or economic threats that require their treatment in a specific location.

EKISC invasive plant categories reflect the risk of spread and threat to RDEK resources.  EKISC has three levels of classification for priority species and sites. Factors considered in each category are:

*These prioritizations are reviewed annually and presented in the Annual Operating Plan which guides treatments by IPMA.

TOOLS

For Monitoring

Invasive Alien Plant Program, IAPP

The first step in any invasive species management plan is to complete an inventory. Knowing what invasive species exist and where they are located are essential when setting priorities for taking action. All invasive species inventory collection across British Columbia is submitted to a public database – the Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP).

 

The IAPP database contains invasive plant surveys, treatments, and activity plans for the entire province of BC. The comprehensive data in IAPP is entered by a wide variety of user groups (ministries, regional districts, weed committees, forest licensees, utilities, conservation groups, federal departments and others) on an on-going basis. The data can be queried on a large number of criteria, using one or more of the 11 'canned' queries. In addition, data managers may run and print any one of the 5 activity summary reports.

Getting Access

Access to the data in IAPP is password-restricted to authorized users. To apply for access, fill out the electronic form. (Note that you need an IDIR or a business BCeID before you can apply for access.) See also the IAPP FAQ page

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