The City of Castlegar is encouraging residents to manage the invasive plants on their property in a responsible way.
Invasive plants are non-native species introduced into an ecosystem they do not belong. Invasive plants lack natural predators or controls and can easily become well established. These introduced species spread quickly and out-compete native vegetation, which reduces biodiversity and negatively affects fragile ecosystems, recreation opportunities, and the economy.
An example of an invasive species of concern in Castlegar is knotweed. The plant is native to Asia, and was introduced to North America as a decorative garden shrub. This tall and pretty plant was an easy sell because it is fast growing, up to 6 cm per day, and requires minimal attention. Little did these gardeners’ know that the plants’ aggressive nature would end up causing a number of problems. Knotweed can damage roads and sewer infrastructure, which need to be repaired using tax payer dollars. Property values are impacted as knotweed will invade gardens and grow through cement structures including foundations.
The Parks staff from the City participated in invasive plant ID and best management workshop organized by CKISS in order to help them manage invasive species on municipal land. The most common invasive species that City of Castlegar staff survey and treat are knotweed, knapweed, Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry, rush skeleton weed, scentless chamomile, Himalayan balsam, baby’s breath and hoary alyssum. The City of Castlegar is asking residents to survey and treat these species on their private property. To learn how to identify and control these invasive plants landowners are encouraged to visit the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) website, www.ckiss.ca/species/terrestrial-riparian/
CKISS is reminding the public that proper disposal of invasive plants is imperative to stopping the spread of invasive species. Under the Environmental Management Act illegal dumping of garden waste onto crown land can result in a fine or potential jail time up to six months. People can report illegal dumping by calling the RAPP hotline 1-877-952-7277. A fine can be avoided by simply taking bagged invasive plant material to local landfills free of charge. All landfills within the Regional District of Central Kootenay accept invasive plant species for free. Ensure your material is bagged in clear plastic bags and notify the attendant that you have invasive plant species. For more information on how to properly dispose of invasive plant material please visit: www.ckiss.ca/proper-disposal-of-invasive-species/
City staff will continue to monitor parks, green spaces and roadsides for high priority invasive plants. Bylaw and Parks will also investigate call requests from the public about invasive weeds as they arise.