The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) has green lit a seed-grant for the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society’s (CSISS) project to investigate the shorelines of the northern Columbia River for invasive species.
“Understanding the type and scale of impacts from invasive species in these high-value conservation areas is a key first step toward developing restoration prescriptions,” said Crystal Klym, Columbia region manager for FWCP.
The project is part of the FWCP’s over $6 million in funding for 40 fish and wildlife projects across the region.
The projects in Revelstoke and Golden will operate on $5,000. CSISS said they’re looking at the Revelstoke Reach greenbelt and airport ponds, and in the Golden area, they’re examining the Columbia wetlands and North Confluence. The areas are crucial for migratory birds, painted turtles, and other wildlife.
The CSISS’s research will examine the riparian conservation areas of the Columbia River, the stretches of moisture-rich plants that lie along the edges of rivers.
The society’s work is to help mitigate some of the significant effects that invasive species –big or small– can have on the local environment and the wildlife that call it home. “Invasive species threaten biodiversity, out compete native plants and animals, interfere with forest regeneration, and impact water quality,” said Klym.
Invasive species come in various shapes and sizes—from organisms to plants to animals. The group are on the lookout for several different forms of invasive species, but the known species include: Blueweed, Himalayan blackberry, Himalayan balsam, knotweed, and leafy spurge.
“Understanding the type and scale of impacts from invasive species in these high-value conservation areas is a key first step toward developing restoration prescriptions,” said Klym.
The invasive species get to the area in a variety of different ways, but CSISS said humans are often the vessel. Whether it’s an organism on the hiking boot of someone from elsewhere, or bacteria on the side of boat, the species go where the humans go.
The good news is that CSISS said there are measures that people can take to mitigate the risk of spreading invasive species. There are free disposal stations at landfills and other transfer stations for invasive plants. There are also boot brushes at trail-heads, watercraft inspection stations, and plenty of resources to learn more about invasive species.
To promote the fight against invasive species, CSISS hosts community weed pull events every year. Their website has details on how to report invasive species, get involved, and donate to the initiative.