The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) has just completed a pilot Invasive-free Certification program for the horticulture industry, the first of its kind in BC. It all began at a horticulture forum hosted by the SSISC last November, where there was feedback from the industry that there was generally a lack of education on invasive species. The goal of this program is to promote and integrate targeted invasive species management into the practices of horticulture and landscape companies serving the Sea to Sky corridor.
Training has been provided to participating companies to improve their knowledge in the following three areas:
- Species recognition and procurement practices – ensuring products purchased/grown are not invasive
- Site & species appropriate control methods – ensuring an understanding of the types available
- Disposal practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed of
The program to date has involved 70 participants representing 22 different companies and organizations. The following 15 companies & organizations have made a commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky Corridor and are the first to become Invasive-free Certified. Look for Invasive-free Certified sticker on their vehicles and places of business:
Budial Resource Group Limited
Latham Landscapes Ltd.
Marie’s MountainView Garden
Landscape and operation crews from the District of Squamish, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Village of Pemberton have also gone through a modified version of the Invasive-free Certification program and are working closely with the SSISC to Stop the Spread!
Gardeners have a long tradition of moving plants to new regions, and the popularity of gardening has increased the importation of plants into Canada and BC from other regions of the world. The Sea to Sky Corridor’s range of climates — from the coastal climate around Squamish, to the varied interior climate around Pemberton — allow gardeners to grow a wide range of interesting trees, shrubs and flowers. Some plants that are sown or planted in gardens with ideal growing conditions, but without the plant’s natural pests and predators, are able to easily spread through their fruits, seeds or roots. Invasive plants are non-native and have the potential to pose undesirable or detrimental impacts including:
- Biodiversity loss - including rare & endangered species
- Habitat loss - for wildlife, birds, fish and other organisms
- Harm to human and/or animal health - can be toxic
- Significant reductions in the quality & quantity of crops
- Increased wildfire risk
- Reduced land values
- Increased erosion & stream sedimentation
Invasive plants grow rapidly, spread quickly, are tolerant of tough conditions and can form dense patches. Invasive plants may displace native species and disrupt natural ecological processes in adjacent parks and natural areas. The “invasiveness” of a plant, however, may be affected by the planting zone in which it is grown.
The SSISC salutes the companies that have volunteered to take part in the program. They are making a difference as we all work together to address this important issue.