The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) is now in its third year of its 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 in November of 2010, where there was feedback from the industry that there was a lack of education on invasive species and their significant threats - some even reducing property values. The goal of this program is to integrate targeted invasive species management into the practices of horticulture and landscape companies serving the Sea to Sky corridor, and recognize those companies that are making a difference.
Training is provided to participating companies on:
- 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 in 2012 involved over 60 participants representing 15 different companies, who have all made a commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor. 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. Look for an Invasive-free Certified sticker on the vehicles and places of business of:
Deeply Rooted Landscaping
The Gardener’s Yard
Green Admiral Nature Restoration
High Country Landscaping & Garden Centre *NEW*
JB Horticultural Services
Jim’s Mowing Eagleview
Miller Capilano Maintenance Corporation – Horticulture crew
Sound Garden Landscape & Design
Village Green Landscapes
Why should my company participate?
The goal of this program is to promote and integrate effective invasive species management into the practices of horticulture and landscape companies serving the Sea to Sky corridor. Professional development will be provided to participating companies to improve their knowledge in the following three areas:
- Species Recognition and Procurement Practices – ensuring products purchased or grown are not invasive
- Site & Species Appropriate Control Methods – ensuring a base understanding of the types of control methods available to control a given species
- Disposal Practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed of, including ensuring integrity of the compost stream
Upon certification, companies can expect to receive recognition which could potentially translate into increased exposure (i.e. new marketing opportunities & access to a niche market). Support will be provided to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program.
More reasons to participate part I – Knot on This Property Program
The SSISC has teamed up with the invasive organizations in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley on a program called Knot on This Property. This program is designed to educate private land owners and real estate professionals about knotweed and other priority invasive species through online educational resources. The program is set to launch this summer/fall and we expect an increased awareness of the impacts of invasive species and related legal responsibilities for private property owners will create a high demand for the services of Invasive-free Certified Companies.
More reasons to participate part II – Rebate Program for Private land owners
Also, the SSISC is planning to continue to run our Cost Sharing Program for Private Lands program that provides land owners, managers, and occupiers with the guidance and financial resources necessary to manage invasive plants on private property. Scope of this program being funding dependant, it will rebate private landowners up to 50 - 100% of the cost of control of giant hogweed & Japanese knotweed, two of the highest priority invasive species in the corridor and added to the BC Weed Control Act in July 2011. To ensure quality of work, in order to qualify for reimbursement all treatment must be carried out by a SSISC Invasive-free Certified company. See www.ssisc.info for more details.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Who can take part in the program?
A: Although it is designed for those in the horticulture industry (garden centres, nurseries, landscapers, landscape architects) and contractors, anyone if welcome to register.
Q: What defines certification?
A: A company is ‘Invasive-free Certified’ when a minimum of 50% of staff have completed the ‘Invasive-free’ training, including all crew leaders/supervisors, and the company has signed a statement of commitment. For individuals to complete the training, they must have participated in at least one introductory workshop (or equivalent training) and signed a statement of commitment.
Q: What is the cost? (Note: The annual fee covers partial costs of the program and is not a revenue generator)
A: Cost is dependent on size of company: Companies that are up to 10 employees/11-20 employees/over 20 employees will pay $50/$100/$150 respectively per year to be part of the program. For individuals not part of a company working towards certification, the cost to take part is $20. When a company is working towards securing/maintaining certification, there is no limit on how many staff members can attend training in that year. Cost also includes:
- all resources, including a print copy of ‘A Guide to Identification and Management of Sea to Sky Invasive Plants’
- year round support to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program
- electronic certificates & letters to give clients about the value of being certified
- Invasive-free certified stickers
- recognition on our website and in correspondence/ads relating to the program
Q: How long is certification valid?
A: Companies need to re-certify annually; individual training is valid for 3 years. Annual certification is important since it keeps companies involved and up to date on new information including news about treatment, emerging invasive species, and new legislation/regulations.
Q: When are the workshops?
A: Participants need to attend just one 2 hour workshop (classroom style) offered in Squamish, Whistler or Pemberton. Availability is on a first come first served basis with additional workshops being added as needed.
@ Capilano University
@ RMOW Public Works Yard
@ Community Centre
· Tues, Apr 16th, 9-11 am
· Thurs, Apr 25th, 9-11 am
· Wed, Apr 17th, 8-10 am
· Tues, Apr 23rd, 2-4 pm
· Fri, April 26th, 9-11 am
· Wed, May 1st, 2 – 4 pm
· Fri, May 17th, 9 – 11 am
· Fri, May 10th, 8-10 am
· Wed, May 15th, 2-4 pm
· Wed, May 22nd, 9-11 am
· Tues, June 4th, 11 am-1 pm
· Wed, June 12th, 11 am-1 pm
(please bring your own lunch)
· Thurs, June 6th, 2-4 pm
· Fri, June 7th, 8-10 am
· Tues, June 11th, 2-4 pm
Q: What if I attended training in 2011 or 2012?
A: Individual training is valid for three years but you are welcome to attend workshops yearly as a review all years the company you work for is part of the program.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Please contact Kristina by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (604-698-8334) with the workshop you'd like to attend at least one week before the course date.
Download info sheets on 2013 Invasive-free Certification program (pdf 478 kb)
Download contact sheet for Invasive-free Certified companies (pdf 213 kb)
Download 2013 committment & registration form for companies (pdf 335 kb)
The SSISC thanks the Community Foundation of Whistler for making this program possible.
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 substantial 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
One species of major concern is Japanese knotweed. In the United Kingdom, Japanese knotweed reduces property values and in some cases, people have been unable to secure a mortgage or insure their property due to knotweed infestations. It is conceivably only a matter of time before this is the case within the Sea to Sky corridor. Early detection and control is the best way to mitigate damage, one reason to work with Invasive-free Certified horticulture professionals.
In response to the threat of Japanese knotweed and also giant hogweed, the SSISC piloted a new Cost Sharing Program for Private Lands program. This program is rebating private landowners up to 50% of the cost of control of both giant hogweed & Japanese knotweed, two of the highest priority invasive species in the corridor and recently added to the BC Weed Control Act.
To ensure quality of work, in order to qualify for reimbursement all treatment must be carried out by a SSISC Invasive-free Certified company. Funding for this program was also generously provided by the Community Foundation of Whistler and treated infestations of Japanese knotweed in Squamish, Pemberton and Britannia Beach, and giant hogweed infestations have been controlled in Squamish and Britannia Beach. This program may return in 2013, funding permitting.
What participating companies had to say about the Invasive-free Certification program:
Heike Stippler from Heike Designs: “As a company I can advertise and act confidently that we care and act according to our certification commitments. We have been identifying invasive plants on several sites, reporting them and educating clients and owners along the way. My crew has brochures in their trucks and hand them out where needed, hopefully raising awareness and promoting removal and replacement. Several owners approached us to help inform and remove where appropriate. I hope to increase awareness so much more, and see great potential for future work in so many areas. At this point, it still takes a lot of pro-active approach and education, but the work required to remove and replace invasive plants that is coming out of this is just starting to show. We will be back for upgrades to the certification and continue to include this in all our professional work,”
Bryce Anderson from Whistler Landscaping: “The Invasive-free Certification Program offered by the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council has been a valuable educational resource for our company and its employees. The tools provided in the program including detailed reference materials and separate disposal for invasive plants have been very helpful. As part of our overall goal to be as environmentally responsible as possible Whistler Landscaping is proud to be Invasive-free Certified and help minimize the negative impacts caused by invasive species in our area.”
Kris Latham from Latham Landscapes: "Staff really appreciated the practical format of the Invasive-free Certification workshop and now we’re better able to inform clients and assist in reducing the problems caused by invasive species; the more we can educate the better."