Fraser Valley - An Invasive Plant Strategy (2014)

By Jeanne Hughes, FVIPC Coordinator

The Fraser Valley Invasive Plant Council (FVIPC) is one of 17 regional invasive species committees in existence in the province. Our mandate is to reduce the negative social, economic, and ecological impacts caused by the introduction and spread of invasive plants. This is achieved through coordination of land managers, education and outreach, and an on the ground operational program.  Our membership is made up of approximately 80 people representing different stakeholder interests.

The FVIPC formed in 2009, and at that time we didn't really know the extent of the invasive plant problem, or what species were of primary concern in the Fraser Valley (though we had an idea) and focused more on raising awareness and organizing outreach events. In 2010, with crews and funding from the Invasive Species Council of BC (http://bcinvasives.ca/), we were able to conduct extensive inventories in our region. Then we could strategize! FVIPC members came together with their collective knowledge, and we placed each invasive plant species in our region into four categories – Prevent, Eradicate, Contain, and Control.

The definitions are as follows:

  • Prevent: Species not known to occur in region but likely to establish if introduced (i.e., gorse)
  • Eradicate: Species known to occur in limited distribution and low density. (i.e., spurge laurel)
  • Contain: Established infestations found in portions of the region. Contain existing infestations and prevent spread to uninfested areas. (i.e., knotweeds)
  • Control: Established infestations common and widespread throughout FVIPC region. Focus control in high value areas. (i.e., Himalayan blackberry)

If you know anything about the knotweed species, you may be thinking knotweeds? On the contain list? The 'contain' species are the most difficult to classify – these are the species that are nearly beyond reasonable control, but which have a high negative ecological, social, or economic impact. We all felt that the knotweeds should be placed higher on the priority list than something like Himalayan blackberry or English ivy.

The other side of this strategization session was identifying 'High Value' areas in the Fraser Valley – natural areas minimally infested with invasive plants and which provide high biodiversity wildlife habitat, habitat for species at risk, or important salmon spawning habitat.

Some specific areas identified by FVIPC members include:

  • Sumas Mountain; high biodiversity area with numerous Species at Risk including mountain beaver and phantom orchid
  • Chilliwack River Valley; high biodiversity area
  • Confluence of the Chehalis and Harrison Rivers; area is proposed Wildlife Management Area due to critical salmon habitat
  • Sweltzer Creek, Cultus Lake; the only salmon access point out of Cultus Lake - threatened by invasive yellow flag iris

So how this comes together is that any resources and funding we receive go towards controlling high priority species (the eradicate and contain species) in high value areas. Each year our membership comes together in early spring to review our species lists and tweak here and there based on new information from the previous years' field work. In agricultural areas we focus on wild chervil, the knotweeds, giant hogweed, and tansy ragwort (with the Fraser Valley Regional District's field crew).

Membership to the FVIPC is free!

Please contact Jeanne Hughes, FVIPC Coordinator, info@fvipc.ca, or at 604-615-9333 for more information.