City battles invasive species

Action plan involves education and control. Free native plants offered at Public Works Open House May 14.

May the “force” (May 4th) be with the City of Richmond in battling an army of invaders that have come to seek the destruction of Lulu Island’s empire.

May marks Invasive Species Action Month across the province and the city contends it is taking proactive steps to weed out unwanted pests and plants from its unique ecosystem on the Fraser River Estuary.

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“Our goal is to help people become aware of what these particular invasive species are and why they are hazardous for many reasons, including human health, ecological, infrastructure and recreation,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. 

“Early detection, then monitoring and managing strategies are important,” he added.

The city will be handing out free native garden plants on May 14 at a Public Works Open House event (5599 Lynas Lane from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and a series of informative displays at city hall will educate the public about invasive plants, insects and animals.

As well, the city is hosting two workshops on lawn care for the European chafer beetle and parrot’s feather.

The latter, an invasive aquatic plant, has taken root in Richmond thanks to people dumping their aquariums in public spaces.

According to the city, parrot’s feather generates large canopies, which shade out vegetation, thus reducing biodiversity. The invasive plant is also said to impact soil, thus reducing the city’s control over flooding.

The city is also trying to educate the public about the perils of releasing exotic animals into the wild.

“A number of introduced species are considered “invasive” because they flourish and spread rapidly in the absence of natural predators and other controls,” notes the city.

In December 2015, the city released a report that outlines an action plan to tackle the problem. Solutions include identification, inventory, treatment trials, control and monitoring and awareness and education.

A display at City Hall (in the Galleria, 6911 No. 3 Road) will feature a new theme each week beginning Monday, May 2:

-May 2:    Don’t let it loose

-May 9:    Invasive plants – on land (terrestrial)

-May 16:  Invasive insects

-May 23:  Invasive plants – in water (aquatic)

Call 604-276-4316 for event details.

For more information on invasive species in Richmond and to download a PDF of the Invasive Species Action Plan

Invasive Species Impacts:

• Social (health, degrade landscapes)
• Ecological (reduce biodiversity, de-stabilize waterways)
• Economic (degrade farmland, damage dykes, control costs)

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