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Community members restore habitat at Richmond park

Around 37 bathtubs’ worth of Himalayan blackberries were removed by volunteers

Volunteers from across Metro Vancouver gathered in Richmond on Saturday to restore the habitat by removing the invasive Himalayan blackberry.

A total of six cubic metres — equivalent to 37 bathtubs — of Himalayan blackberry was removed near the Terra Nova Rural Park Farm Centre thanks to Lower Mainland Green Team (LMGT) volunteers.

“We were so impressed with everyone’s hard work, especially given that much of what was removed was stubborn roots, which require more effort but take up less volume,” said Ashton Kerr, LMGT program manager.

She added that removing the roots is “key” to reduce the chances of the plant regrowing.

An enthusiastic turnout of 62 volunteers was recorded on Saturday, according to Kerr, and there was even a waitlist for the activity.

Most of the volunteers were young Richmondites, including scouts from the 28th Terra Nova Richmond Scout Group, and some even came from Surrey, Vancouver and West Vancouver.

More than half of the volunteers got to remove invasive plants for the first time.

The activity is a continuation of LMGT’s efforts to restore the local habitat during Earth Week back in April, and the regrowth proved to be less dense compared to five months ago.

“While we saw some regrowth of blackberry in areas we cleared earlier this year, this is expected given the large number of seeds that Himalayan blackberry produces that were likely left in the soil from past years,” said Kerr.

The LMGT invasive plant removal activity was funded by the Richmond Environmental Enhancement Grant.