Welcome & News Blog
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As we are wrapping up our busy field season and are starting to report on some of our programs, we find ourselves reflecting on the mountain of great work that what has been made possible so far this year, by our WONDERFUL and GENEROUS funders!
In particular HUGE thanks must go to the Community Foundation of Whistler, our biggest supporter.
We received an incredibly generous grant of $46,876 from the Envrionmental Legacy Fund for 2014-15, funding the following programs:
Inventory & Control Program:
- Yellow Flag Iris Eradication Patrol
- Development of Scotch Broom Management Plan
- Inventory and Control of High Priority Invasive Species
- Development of SSISC Regional Strategy
Education & Outreach Program:
- Weeds & Agriculture: Information Resource Development, Workshops & Farm Tour
- Community Weed Pulls
- Plantwise Program
- Purchase of Outreach Materials
Certification & Training Programs:
- Invasive-free Certification Program for Horticulture, Landscaping & Earthmoving professionals
- Best Practice Field Training for herbicide application
- Invasive Species Identification Workshops
So, here's to a great year, and here's to the Community Foundation of Whistler!
The SSISC field crew carried out inventory, control and monitoring at 312 sites (199 sites by our four field employees, and 110 by a contracted biologist) throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor between June and September 2014.
Species removed manually included: Yellow Flag Iris, Scotch Broom, Purple Loosestrife, Cypress Spurge, Blueweed, Himalayan Blackberry, Diffuse Knapweed, Spotted Knapweed, Burdock, Perennial Sow Thistle, Hoary Alyssum, Lamium, English Holly, English Ivy, Oxeye Daisy, Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle, Himalayan Balsam, Small flowered touch me not, Spiny Sow Thistle, Common Periwinkle, Flat Pea, Canadian Horseweed, Spanish Broom, Orange Hawkweed and Bladder Campion.
Species treated chemically included: Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Common Comfrey, and Orange Hawkweed.
SSISC’s field program was made possible by funding from the Community Foundation of Whistler; BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations; BC Parks; BC Hydro; FortisBC; Squamish Nation; District of Squamish; Resort Municipality of Whistler; Ashlu Creek Investments Limited Partnership and private landowners.
SSISC hosted outreach tables and weed pulls at 11 events this season. Over 260 printed resources were handed out at these events, and SSISC staff engaged in approximately 200 conversations directly with interested event attendees.
- Valleycliffe Elementary Earth Day (April, Squamish)
- Squamish River Watershed Society Field Days (May, Squamish)
- Invasive Species Week: Burdock Blitz (June, Whistler)
- Invasive Species Week: Yellow Flag Iris Eradication Patrol I @ Wayside Park (June, Whistler)
- Invasive Species Week: Yellow Flag Iris Eradication Patrol II @ Lakeside Park (June, Whistler)
- Spotted Knapweed and Common Bugloss Weed Pull (July, Pemberton)
- BioBlitz (August, Whistler)
- EnviroFest - Crafty by Nature (August, Whistler)
- WCSS Seniors Drop In (September, Whistler)
- BC Rivers Day (September, Whistler)
- BC Rivers Day - Pollinator Enhancement Project (October, Squamish)
This year, SSISC held 10 Invasive-Free Certification Workshops. While horticulture and landscaping company staff have been certified in previous years, 2014 also saw the participation of earth-moving companies. View the list of certified companies.
Thanks to a very generous donation from the Community Foundation of Whistler, our training programs were expanded to include a Best Practices for Herbicide Applicators field session in Squamish. Two Invasive Species ID Workshops were offered to the general public, and training was provided to staff from the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the District of Squamish.
This year's stats are in for SSISC's 2014 Invasive-free Certification workshops:
- 10 workshops were held in June and July (4 at Capilano University - Squamish Campus, 5 at the Resort Municipality of Whistler, 1 at the Village of Pemberton).
- 20 companies and 67 individuals registered, 60 individuals participated. 11 of these were new to SSISC's Invasive-free Certification program. The program content was expanded to include recommendations for and commitments from Earthmoving companies. It was an exciting year, as some of the larger companies like Whistler Blackcomb landscaping crew, the Fairmont Chateau Landscapers, Squamish Valley Golf Club and Quest University Groundskeepers joined the program for the first time.
- Topics discussed at the workshops included: existing invasive species to be aware of, new species like the European fire ant and Nutria; treatment methods and species specific approaches, proper disposal and reporting sightings.
Participants who attended the workshops received an information pack with a copy of the SSISC ID & Management Guide, species specific management recommendations for species like Japanese knotweed, stickers, and decals for their work vehicles. Plant samples were shown for hands-on learning. A number of participants helped out after these sessions by actively removing invasives and/or reporting locations to SSISC.
Through the certification workshops, we have definitely increased the number of trained eyes on the ground.
In 2012 and 2013, our field crew treated the Yellow flag iris infestation at Finch Street, Squamish by pulling and cutting the vegetation (primarily seed heads). Cutting the vegetation prevents the spread of seeds and should eventually deplete the energy reserves in the root mass, but the process takes around five to six years of continued cutting.
This year, the crew dug out the entire root mat, and removed the material from the site. Yellow flag iris spreads by seed as well as by rhizome so we will need to monitor this site over the next few years for regrowth, but it is hoped that the root mat removal will reduce the amount of regrowth next spring, and help us move towards eradication at this site.
Join SSISC for BC Rivers Day celebrations in Whistler this Sunday, September 28. There will be canoes for use, river education activities including invasive species information, music and more!
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Location: Edgewater Outdoor Centre on Green Lake
See the poster: http://www.whistler.ca/sites/
SSISC is the feature story in this week's Pique Newsmagazine! Guardians at the Gate - The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council has evolved from a grassroots weed-puller to an agent of ecological restoration. Read the article