A Strategic Overview for Invasive Species Management in BC Parks

What is an invasive plant?

Invasive plants pose a threat to our native environment and are recognized globally as the second greatest threat to biodiversity. They are plants that do not occur naturally in ecosystems in British Columbia and their presence can cause environmental and/or economic harm, and some species can harm human health. These non-native or alien invasive plants reproduce rapidly, are resilient and can overwhelm existing native vegetation.

Who is the Inter-ministry Invasive Species Working Group?

Since 2004, the Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group (IMISWG) has provided policy direction, and coordination and collaborative delivery of provincial invasive species programs for the Province of BC. Several land-based ministries have responsibility for noxious weed and invasive plant management, including Ministries of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Agriculture, Environment, Transportation and Energy and Mines. The IMISWG functions to bring together provincial ministries and agencies, each with unique mandates, program goals and technical expertise.

Does BC Provincial Government have a Strategic Plan?

Yes, the inter-ministry committee has developed the government’s strategy called:
“Invasive Alien Plants in British Columbia -The Provincial Government Strategy for Protecting Our Resource
The goals are to:

  1. prevent the establishment of new invasive plant infestations,
  2. reduce the socio-economic and environmental impacts of existing invasive species, and
  3. provide the framework and capacity for the ongoing management of invasive species.

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/Publications/IMISWG_Prov_Strategy.pdf

What are the most important components of BC Parks Invasive Plant Program?

Training: BC Parks staff (PPA section heads, Recreation Section Heads, area supervisors, planner and rangers) are to be trained to identify and report IP occurrences. Training will be done by an trained facilitator and will use the 2011 Trainers Manual and the BMP Guidebook.

Best Management Practices Handbook: these best management practices were developed by Val Miller and Brian Wikeem (2006) and edited to update by Judy Millar (2011).

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/conserve/bcparks-ip-guide.pdf

BC Parks Threat Analysis: BC Parks has developed a method that will help identify priority species that pose the greatest threat to priority areas that are most vulnerable to their invasion. The BC Parks and Protected Areas Threat Analysis uses existing information and products to provide that information. The presence and distribution of invasive plants are not static therefore; the analysis should be considered a "snap-shot in-time". The process used for the analysis is outlined to help regions to update the information as needed. This is usually assigned to the conservation specialist, however, in some regions there may be an area supervisor that is interested and willing to take on this task.

What other programs facilitate the BC Parks Program?

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has written a helpful Invasive Plant Program Reference Guide. It is intended to be used as resource manual for all agencies and partners involved in invasive plant management in British Columbia.

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/Plants/index.htm

Invasive Alien Plant Program: IAPP is the database for invasive plant data in BC. It is intended to co-ordinate/share information generated by various agencies and non-government organizations involved in invasive plant management. The database is managed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The application allows the entry, editing and querying of invasive plant information including: site details; invasive plant inventory information; planning; treatment methods and data; and, monitoring data. IAPP includes the Report-A-Weed function that allows regional staff to provide data on IPs in PPAs.

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/Plants/application.htm

Regional Weed Committees: In British Columbia, there are 16 independent Regional Weed Committees (RWC) located across the province that works on invasive plant management in a variety of capacities. The Invasive Plant Council of BC collaborates with regional committees to jointly deliver on a diversity of projects, special programs, and on-the-ground activities. There is one in your area, become involved and participate by attending meetings to be informed of what is going on around the parks.

http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/committees/

Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia: The IPCBC is a registered, non-profit charity whose members are involved in all aspects of invasive plant management. Members include technical specialists working for government and industry, weed committee coordinators, First Nations representatives, foresters, forest technologists, biologists, ranchers, horticulturists, recreation enthusiasts, gardeners, and other concerned individuals. Membership is open to everyone willing to work collaboratively.

The Council's Board of Directors and five committees are working to:

  1. Educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risk to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters;
  2. Fund research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and
  1. Undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems.

http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/

Why does BC Parks need to have an Action Plan in each region?

Developing a plan for managing invasive plants can be highly beneficial. A plan can serve as a reference while management progresses and can support decision making and problem solving needed to achieve desired vegetation conditions. Having a plan in place also ensures consistency in management efforts as personnel change, helps engage stakeholders and citizens, and is useful as supporting material for writing grants and soliciting partnerships.

Invasive plant management planning is built upon a framework that takes into account a myriad of considerations - from operating under policies and laws, to working with adjacent landowners, to selecting control methods that are effective in a particular environment. Planning can be an ongoing process that is adjusted or refined by assessing new information until invasive plant management objectives are achieved, and ultimately, desired vegetation conditions are realized.