Regional District prepping master plan to combat invaders

CVRD staff have identified nine invasive species with "particularly high health, ecological, and environmental risks," within the region and are looking at developing a master plan on how best to manage them.

Giant hogweed is one of the plants being eyed, according to Keith Lawrence, a senior environmental analyst with the CVRD. "The impacts from being burned by giant hogweed are very significant," he said. "The scars can last for several years."

Yellow iris, and Daphne/Spurge laurel also both have health risks. Others, he noted, include blessed milk thistle, various knotweed species, carpet burweed, tansy ragwort, poison hemlock, and Scotch broom.

Lawrence told the CVRD’s regional services committee on Wednesday night that staff is researching both regulatory and non-regulatory invasive plant management options.

Among the regulatory options include the development of bylaws under the Weed Control and Local Government Acts.

Some non-regulatory options include making a public outreach and education plan, and application to be identified as a Regional Weed Committee under the B.C. Invasive Species Council.

"The CVRD can play a key role in addressing invasive plant issues and thereby safeguard against the potential negative impacts on communities," Lawrence said. "We are really looking to seek guidance from this group in terms of which options we’ll go with."

Costs associated with an invasive plant species management plan depend largely on what options the board opts for.

"The more resources we’re given, the more we can do," he said.

Board Chair Rob Hutchins told a brief story of a child in his town that suffered greatly as a result of contact with a noxious plant.

"Not taking any action is not tolerable," said Hutchins said.