Welcome & News Blog
SSISC Open House & AGM
Wednesday April 24th, 1 - 4 pm
Executive Suites Hotel, Squamish (40900 Tantalus Rd.)
Please join us for this FREE event to learn about the latest invasive news from local and regional partners, connect with others interested in invasive species management, and have a say on what’s important to you.
In addition to hearing about what the SSISC is planning in 2013, other partners providing updates and opportunities for discussion include:
- District of Squamish
- Squamish River Watershed Society
- Resort Municipality of Whistler
- South Coast Conservation Program (species at risk)
- Squamish-Lillooet Regional District
- BC Hydro
- BC Parks
- Province of BC (herbicide use around water)
- Squamish Nation
- Neighbouring invasive organization
- and more!
Tasty treats and beverages will also be served.
If you’re looking to get more involved with the group there are exciting opportunities for formal Director and informal Adviser positions. Please contact SSISC before the event to inquire.
For more information on opportunities or the event contact Kristina at email@example.com, 604-698-8334 or visit www.ssisc.info.
Want to tackle invasive species? Join the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver (ISCMV) for its annual Spring Forum, April 11th, 2013 at the Richmond Oval.
Dig into this forum and discover all aspects of invasive species management including:
- New Treatment Methodology,
- Volunteer Engagement,
- Updates on Legislation and Aquatic/Riparian Herbicide Use, and
Get all the info here.
We encourage you to register by April 8th.
See you there!
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is developing a regulatory proposal to manage and control Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Canada.
The Department is seeking initial input regarding the intent to regulate AIS generally, and is interested in identifying which stakeholders are currently affected by AIS or may be affected by AIS regulations in the future.
The online questionnaire will be posted for 60 days (until February 1, 2013), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also be pursuing other opportunities for further consultations.
The background information can be found at http://isdm-gdsi.gc.ca/ais-
Please take the time to comment as these regulations will help to protect Canada from Aquatic invaders.
Please take the time to comment as these regulations will help to protect Canada from Aquatic invaders.
VICTORIA –The B.C. government has amended the controlled alien species regulation to protect our environment, with tough fines for those who introduce invasive species into local ecosystems.
The B.C. government has strengthened the regulation, acting on a previous commitment to ban the snakehead fish. All public comments received on the government’s policy paper supported strong action on this issue.
Main measures include:
· Prohibiting the possession, breeding, release or transportation of high-risk aquatic species such as the snakehead. Releasing a live snakehead into local waters could result in a fine of up to $250,000.
· Requiring that no invasive zebra or quagga mussel, alive or dead, be present on boats or related equipment. Failure to clean mussels off boats or equipment could result in a fine of up to $100,000.
Until now, the controlled alien species regulation has been used to control the possession, breeding, shipping and releasing of animals that are not native to B.C., such as tigers, that pose a serious risk to the health or safety of people. For example, currently it is a direct violation of the regulation under the Wildlife Act to possess a prohibited species without a permit.
Given the threats to B.C.’s fish, wildlife and habitat, the new rules target specific aquatic invasive species to prevent these live species from coming into contact with our waters. Many neighbouring Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions have similar restrictions on aquatic invasive species as those announced today.
Other new measures include:
· Adding definitions for “accredited zoo or aquarium,” “certified educational institution” and “certified research institution” to create clarity on standards, and allow exemptions to apply for strict educational or scientific purposes.
· Clarifying which species of monitor lizard are prohibited, typically those that grow over two metres in length or that otherwise create a significant threat to public safety.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The strengthened regulation reaffirms our government’s commitment to protect B.C.’s natural ecosystems from exposure to unnecessary risk as a result of the release of invasive non-native species.”
Terry Lake, Minister of Environment –
“The impact of the snakehead and zebra mussel in other jurisdictions has been devastating to those local ecosystems. These regulations are an important step in preventing these invasive species gaining a foothold in B.C.”
· To learn more about controlled alien species regulation, visit:
· To learn more about the accreditation standards that have been developed by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), visit: http://www.caza.ca/en/about_caza/accreditation_program/
Additional information here.
Amendment to Pesticide Use Regulation Bylaw approved by council
The purpose of Pesticide Use Regulation Amendment Bylaw No. 2001, 2012 is to implement a Pesticide Exemption Application process that may permit an approved pesticide applicator to chemically treat invasive species that may cause economic and environmental harm or harm to human health within the boundaries of the RMOW.
Pesticide Use Regulation Bylaw No. 1822, 2007 regulates the application of pesticides for nonessential and cosmetic purposes on private and public lands within the boundaries of the RMOW.
At the time that the bylaw was adopted, an inventory of invasive species within the RMOW boundaries had not yet been completed. Since then the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council was formed, and has completed an extensive inventory of invasive species and community-wide education.
As a result of increased awareness about invasive species, Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), sightings reports have increased.
These invasive species pose an economic and environmental threat to the community as these species spread exponentially causing damage to infrastructure, biodiversity, streams and rivers, and even human health.
Because of the persistent nature of Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed, the goal for management of these species is eradication.
RMOW staff, in consultation with the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council and its community advisory team, have determined that manual and mechanical methods of controlling Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are no longer effective or viable options, and have agreed that chemical control is necessary to prevent further damage to infrastructure and minimize the threat to Whistler’s biodiversity.
The pesticide regulation bylaw amendment establishes a Pesticide Exemption Application, which will need to be completed and approved by designated RMOW staff before the regulated use of pesticides can occur on public or private lands by Ministry of Environment-certified pesticide applicators. These trained applicators will strategically and judiciously target the use of herbicides; deal with transportation, handling, and storage of pesticides; provide education to targeted audiences; and dispose of the pesticides and containers safely.
Written notice and signs will need to be issued and erected before, during and after an application indicating the type of treatment used for which species, species information, the effects of the chemicals being used, and safety precautions that need to be adhered in addition to other protocols indicated in the bylaw.
Information about applying for pesticide exemption, and identifying invasive species will be posted on whistler.ca.
Council gave first, second, and third readings to the bylaw amendment later in their meeting.
Download the complete presentation.
Thanks to Dawn Green and the Squamish Chief for great coverage on a community blackberry pull in Squamish. Here is the article that appeared in the September 13th issue (link directly to Squamish Chief):
Residing only in the memories of long-term residents of Valleycliffe, a weed-choked area lining Little Stawamus Creek was once an open, grassy area suitable for picnics and for viewing grazing deer and other wildlife. Over the years, though, it was replaced with aggressive non-native Himalayan blackberry that out-competed native species and effectively blocked access to the creek.
That’s where Squamish resident Robin Sherry stepped in.
As the driving force of a community project to remove the blackberry infestation, he describes how he moved to Valleycliffe and heard about how it used to be, which was enough to spur him into action.
“Once the blackberry took over,” he said, “you couldn’t even see the creek. People used to walk down by the creek, but it grew up over everything. It was climbing up over our fences.”
Sherry got his neighbours and the Cedar Valley Waldorf School interested and organized a group weed pull a few months ago. The District of Squamish agreed to pick up the material for safe disposal and the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) offered to loan tools and also helped with educating the students at the school about invasives.
Kristina Swerhun, SSISC executive director, said she was thoroughly impressed by the initiative undertaken by Sherry and the residents.
“He was the driver behind it, we were just helping out,” she noted, describing it as a leading-edge initiative.
“Having a community member being that passionate, that was new — he took it and ran with it,” Swerhun said. “He used his energy to its most extent, where if we had come in, it would have probably taken us twice as long to do the job because we don’t know the area like he does.”
It was still a massive undertaking, involving four days of battling with the blackberries, a mission made easier by the many hands involved.
Roughly 30 students from the Cedar Valley, alongside their teachers and some parents, assisted for a few hours. Swerhun said it was great for them to be involved as the school borders the area where the blackberry was removed.
But not all the students were happy.
“Some of the kids were disappointed the berries were going away,” she said with a laugh, “but I think they understood at the end why it was happening so it was really neat to see the wheels turning in their heads, that this is better for everybody.”
And a few dump truck loads of blackberry vines later, the area was restored to its natural state.
Sherry described the community initiative as “super successful” and said it was great for everyone to come together.
“It looks fantastic back there now,” he noted, “and we’ve already been seeing some wildlife and the kids will go and pick salmon berries, which is a native species. They put some natural grasses down and we’ve been seeing some blue heron fishing in the creek, a family of racoons lives there, the bears wander back there once in a while and we saw a deer there a few weeks back. Everybody is super happy with it.”
He confessed he was not always optimistic that the blackberry could be successfully removed.
“When we started out, it felt like quite the challenge... I really felt like we had bitten off more than we could chew, but it worked out. If you set your mind to it, anything is possible,” he said.
“The fantastic results obtained goes to show how a small group of determined community members can make a huge difference in supporting our native ecosystems,” she said. Those interested in keeping invasive plants under control may contact the SSISC. More information can be found at www.ssisc.info.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has just issued an alert for Asian carp, a serious threat to our waterways. Luckily the report of Asian carp was a false alarm. The find would have been very significant since the fish will compete for food with indigenous species and prey on their larvae. They can also cause significant habitat damage and ecological disruption. Moreover, Asian Silver carp tend to jump out of the water and endanger recreational boaters and water skiers. With the support of DFO, proactive efforts are underway to reduce the likelihood of Asian carp species becoming established in Canada. Fishers are urged to keep a watch for Asian carp in Canadian waters!
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND INVASIVE SPECIES
Everyone using aquatic habitats can help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species. 1. Try to identify them; DO NOT THROW BACK INTO THE RIVER! 2. Note the location ( GPS co-ordinates are nice) and observation date; 3. Contact a Fisheries and Oceans Canada Office: 250-256-2650 and/or the SSISC
Stewardship Pemberton and the Sea to Sky invasive Species Council are hosting a Pemberton community weed pull. If you’re interested in getting to know your local weeds better and taking action to help our native biodiversity this event is for you! All ages welcome.
The work will be done at the Arn canal and follow up on previous community weed pulls in this area. The canal has had ongoing habitat restoration of streamside and upland vegetation to assist in restoring this area to a more natural state.
Date:Friday July 13th, 2012
Time:10 am – 12 pm
Meeting location:Pedestrian bridge near highway 99
Bring: Please bring work gloves if possible, tools and refreshments will be supplied
*Rain or shine*
For more information please contact:
Dawn Johnson – Stewarship Pemberton: firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-698-5686
Kristina Swerhun – Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council: email@example.com, 604-698-8334
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."