You’re asked to report ‘bully in the plant world’

A new 2013 regional program is aimed at eradicating invasive knotweed species from the Comox Valley.

A new 2013 regional program is aimed at eradicating invasive knotweed species from the Comox Valley.

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), in partnership with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee (Coastal ISC), will offer a reporting system for invasive knotweed species. This pilot program is asking the public to report sightings of knotweed.

The program aims to verify all knotweed reports within the CVRD’s electoral areas and to provide professionals to conduct treatment on select sites at no cost to the landowner.

Considered one of the world’s worst invaders, this hollow stem shrub (which resembles bamboo), can destroy or degrade fish and wildlife habitat. Knotweed roots can penetrate pavement, causing damage to infrastructure such as roads, walls and drainage systems.

In the U.K., Japanese knotweed has grown rampant, causing severe financial implications, including mortgages refused on properties with knotweed. Coastal ISC is asking the public to work with officials to eliminate the threat of this species before it becomes widely established.

“Knotweed is a bully in the plant world. Non-native and aggressive plants, such as knotweed, outcompete native flora, and alter fish habitat while costing taxpayers and land managers thousands of dollars to control. By being alert and keeping our eyes open for new invaders, we have a much better chance at preventing their establishment,” explains Rachelle McElroy, executive director of the Coastal ISC.

“Knotweed species are extremely expensive and difficult to control once they have spread,” said Edwin Grieve, Comox Valley Regional District board chair. “On a positive note for our region, knotweed populations are still small in the CVRD and we still have an opportunity for effective control.”

A knotweed alert sheet, providing information on identification, proper disposal, and reporting options has been developed and is available on the CVRD website at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/invasiveplants.

Coastal ISC appreciates the co-operation of all residents in addressing knotweed on both private and public land. Local residents can benefit from free treatments by stem injection now until early fall. Knotweed occurrences in the Comox Valley are sporadic and, with the help of the public, eradication may still be possible.

To report infestations call 250-857-2472 or e-mail info@coastalisc.com. For more information on identification of this plant and its damaging impacts; as well as other invasive species that are being managed in your area, visit www.coastalisc.com/priority.

— Comox Valley Regional District

 

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