The BC provincial government has declared June as invasive species action month, and the Comox Valley will be tackling invasive knotweed again this year.
This successful regional program, first launched in 2013, includes all four local governments, the Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), in partnership with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee (Coastal ISC). The goals are to verify all knotweed reports within these jurisdictions to provide professionals to conduct treatments on select sites.
Knotweed is considered one of the world’s worst invaders. It is a hollow stem shrub, native to Asia that resembles bamboo. It can grow up to 4 centimetres a day and causes serious damage to foundations, driveways, and septic system, as well as natural to habitats. In the UK, Japanese knotweed has spread rampantly and now homeowners cannot secure mortgages or insurance on properties with knotweed. Cutting, mowing, and pulling can stimulate shoot growth and may cause roots to spread further, resulting in new infestations up to 20 metres away. As well, knotweed has the ability to regenerate from a very small root or stem fragment and can remain dormant for many years.
Local residents in CVRD’s electoral areas can benefit from subsidized treatments by stem injection this summer, while knotweed treatments in Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland will focus on public lands.
Coastal ISC appreciates the cooperation of all residents in addressing knotweed. Reporting knotweed is very important in all jurisdictions regardless of whether it is growing on public or private lands. By knowing where it is growing, the various authorities can map the occurrences and understand the potential for spread of the plant over time.
The Coastal Invasive Species Committee is asking the public to report sightings of knotweed until mid-July by email firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-250-857-2472.
“Knotweed is causing a huge headache across British Columbia, but with the public’s help we can prevent it from taking over our coastal communities. It’s an invasive and aggressive plant that spreads easily and can impact property values, the environment, and can cause safety issues on roadways. This regional program will save considerable taxpayer dollars. Visit Knotonmyproperty.com, or pick up a booklet from your local government to learn how to defend your property from invasion” explains Rachelle McElroy, Executive Director of the Coastal ISC.
“The spread of knotweed has serious ecological and economic impacts,” said Edwin Grieve, chair of the Comox Valley Regional District electoral area services committee. “As it is difficult to control once it is fully established, this is a great opportunity to work with our local governments region-wide to proactively address this infestation.”
“We’re happy to be working with our local government partners and private residents to manage this destructive invader. Nature knows no jurisdictional boundaries, so this type of collaboration is critical,” added Mayor of Courtenay, Larry Jangula.
A knotweed alert sheet, providing information on identification, proper disposal, and reporting options has been developed and is available on the CVRD website at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/invasiveplants. For more information on identification of this plant and its damaging impacts, as well as other invasive species that are being managed in your area please visit: http://www.coastalisc.com and click on the “Invasive Species” tab.