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purple-loosetrife

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Society of British Columbia

Latin name:

Lythrum salicaria

Native to:

Europe and Asia

Regional Distribution:

Purple loosestrife is located in the Columbia Shuswap region at a few localized controlled sites. Continued monitoring and treatment efforts from CSISS will hopefully eradicate this invasive species from our region.

Description:

Purple loosestrife is a woody half-shrub, wetland perennial that has the ability to out-compete most native species in BC’s wetland ecosystems. It is found in wet areas at low- to mid-elevations, growing in ditches, irrigation canals, marshes, stream and lake shorelines and shallow ponds.  Purple loosestrife has stiff, four-sided stems ending in dense spikes of showy purple flowers. Plants have narrow, stalkless leaves, growing up to 3 metres in height at maturity.

Control:

Mechanical control, such as hand pulling and digging, are used to treat this riparian species.

Fun facts:
Purple loosestrife can be easily confused with the native species Fireweed or the invasive species Dame’s Rocket.

To learn the difference between Dame’s Rocket and Purple Loosestrife please see below.

Purple Loosestrife VS Dame’s Rocket

NOTE: Because of it’s invasive nature, equal care must be given to Dame’s Rocket and Purple Loosestrife.

 

Giant_hogweed007_JHallworth_1

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Society of British Columbia

Latin name:

Heracleum mantegazzianum

Native to:

Central Asia

Regional Distribution:

Giant hogweed is currently found in a very limited distribution within the Shuswap Region. In BC, it can be found in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, and central to southern Vancouver Island.

Description:

Giant hogweed has numerous small white flower clusters in an umbrella-shaped head, with stout, hollow green stems covered in purple spots. Dark green leaves are coarsely toothed in 3 large segments with stiff underside hairs, and lower leaves can exceed 2.5 metres in length. Giant hogweed can grow up to 5 metres in height at maturity and always flowers above 3 meters.  It is easily confused with native cow’s parsnip which typically flowers at around 2 meters and has smaller, less pointy leaves. Giant Hogweed VS Cow Parsnip

Control:

Warning: Giant hogweed stem hairs and leaves contain a clear, highly toxic sap that, when in contact with the skin, can cause burns, blisters and scarring. WorkSafe BC has issued a Toxic Plant Warning for Giant Hogweed that requires workers to wear heavy, water-resistant gloves and water-resistant coveralls that completely covers skin while handling the plants. Eye protection is also recommended.

Contact CSISS if you find this invasive plant. 

Fun facts:
To learn the difference between Giant hogweed and native Cow parsnip see below.

 

 

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Society of British Columbia

Latin name:

Lithobates catesbeiana

Native to:

Eastern North America

Regional Distribution:

The American Bullfrog is not yet found within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.  In British Columbia, it can be found in the lower mainland, southern Vancouver Island, South Okanagan, and recently in the South Kootenays.  It is widely distributed in the western United States where initial introductions took place.

Description:

American Bullfrogs are large robust frogs, green or brown in colour with large golden eyes. Adult females are larger than males and can reach 20 cm in length and 750 g in weight.  Both males and females have a large distinct tympanum (ear) behind the eye.  For more information visit the B.C. Frogwatch Program.

Impacts of invasion:

  • Voracious predator that eats anything that fits into its mouth, including endangered native amphibians and fish (including their eggs and larvae)
  • Can spread the chytrid fungus, which is responsible for declining amphibian populations
  • Readily outcompetes native frog populations. There is scientific evidence that when bullfrog colonies grow in wetlands it is followed by a rapid decline of native frogs
  • Tadpoles act as “ecosystem engineers”, meaning they are extremely competitive and take food and habitat away from native frogs

Control:

Mapping the spread and physically catching and removing American Bullfrogs from the ecosystem can reduce the movement of this invader into the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

You can help! Don’t transport Bullfrogs from one pond to another.  Bullfrog tadpoles and adults can be enticing ‘pets’ for children and for gardeners looking to liven up their backyard ponds, but this simple form of movement seems to be one of the primary ways Bullfrogs spread across the province.

Report:
There are no known infestations of American Bullfrog within the Columbia Shuswap, so we need your help to report any sightings in this region. Please send in an online report and take photos to help with species ID.

Fun facts:
American Bullfrogs are voracious predators.  They will eat anything that fits into their mouth including insects and other small invertebrates, birds, small mammals, snakes, and other frogs (including smaller Bullfrogs). Watch this impressive National Geographic video of their hunting.

Helpful Links:
Video of American Bullfrog Calling

American Bullfrog in the Central Kootenays

Frogwatch BC - report provincial frog and bullfrog sightings!

 

Image courtesy of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District

Latin name:

Myriophyllum Spicatum L.

Native to:

Europe, Asia and North Africa

Regional Distribution:
Eurasian Water Milfoil was first introduced to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District in August 1981.  Since its introduction, Eurasian Water Milfoil has colonized throughout Shuswap Lake, Little Shuswap Lake, Mara Lake and the Shuswap River.  The largest infestation is located in the Salmon Arm Bay.

Description:

Eurasian Water Milfoil is a rooted aquatic plant colonizing lakes and rivers at depths from 0.5 m to 5 m.  The milfoil stem is slender and can grow up to 175 cm long, 4 to 5 leaves are arranged in whorls around the stem and are characterized by 12 to 21 leaflet pairs per leaf.  During the spring and summer months, rapid growth can create dense mats of surfacing milfoil adversely affecting recreational activities, flood control, drainage, water conservation facilities and fish spawning areas.

Control:

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is actively controlling the Eurasian Water Milfoil with a state-of-the-art vessel used exclusively in the Shuswap for treating infested Milfoil sites. The treatment involves rototilling shorelines in autumn and early winter, when water temperatures are too cold for plant fragments to establish a new colony.

For lakes without Eurasian Water Milfoil, prevention is the best control. Clean, Drain and Dry your boat before launching into another water-body.

For more information visit the CSRD Milfoil Control Program. 

Fun facts:
Eurasian Water Milfoil spreads primarily by fragmentation in the summer months. Fragmenting pieces can spread rapidly through boating activities and natural water currents.  It only takes one small piece of Milfoil to start a new plant which can expand into a colony in a short period of time.

 

Latin name:

Rubus armeniacus (also: Rubus discolor)

Native to:

Asia

Regional Distribution:
The distribution of Himalayan blackberry in the Columbia-Shuswap is not well known. Himalayan blackberry are generally introduced as garden food plants before they get out of control and expand into surrounding areas.

Description:

Himalayan blackberry plants are aggressive invaders that produce think canes with sharp prickles. The leaves are generally grouped into fives on first year canes and groups of three on flowering, second yer canes. The flowers range from delicate white to light pink.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Himalayan blackberry in your garden! There are native varieties of blackberry that can be grown in their place. More information about Himalayan blackberry and control options can be found on the ISCBC website.

 

Latin name:

Impatiens glandulifera

Native to:

Himalayas

Regional Distribution:
Himalayan balsam (also known as “Policemen’s Helmet”) is found primarily near populations centers in the Columbia Shuswap where it spreads from gardens into nearby waterways and ditches.

Description:
Himalayan balsam is introduced primarily through gardens. It is an impressive annual plant with a large capacity to produce seed pods which explode to disperse up to 7 meters away. Plants can grow up to 2 meters tall and produce pink, sweet smelling hooded flowers.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant Himalayan balsam in your garden! There are alternative ornamentals that can be grown in their place. Although Himalayan balsam is an annual plant with relatively weak roots and an almost hollow stem its capacity for reproduction makes it very difficult to control once it is established. Hand pull this plant before it goes to seed.

More information about Himalayan balsam control options can be found here: http://www.shim.bc.ca/invasivespecies/_private/himalayan_balsam.htm

Fun facts:
Himalayan balsam can produce up to 2,500 seeds per plant. These seeds can remain viable for up to 18 months and have even been known to germinate under water.

 

Latin name:

Polygonum spp.

Native to:

Asia

REGIONALLY NOXIOUS

Regional Distribution:
Knotweeds in the Columbia-Shuswap are commonly found around human inhabited areas as they are generally introduced as garden ornamentals before they get out of control and expand into surrounding areas. Knotweeds are often found at dump sites as they have the remarkable ability to take root and grow from a single node along the stem.

Description:
There are three main kinds of knotweeds found in the Columbia Shuswap region:
Japanese knotweed
Bohemian knotweed
Giant knotweed

Knotweeds are perennial invasive plants with aggressive growth. They can reach an impressive 3-4 meters in height. The young shoots of knotweed are similar in form to bamboo canes. Knotweeds excel at regenerating from suckers as well as nodes along the stem. If you are not sure which type of Knotweed you are dealing with check out the Knotweed Identification Key published by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action. Do not plant knotweed in your garden! There are alternative ornamentals that can be grown in their place. Once established knotweeds are very difficult to control and can cause damage to human infrastructure and degrade riparian habitat. One of the only effective control measures against knotweed is targeted herbicide. This can take the form of foliar application (herbicide applied directly to the leaves).

Once established, knotweed is extremely difficult to eradicate.  It can re-grow after cutting, burning, or insufficient treatment with herbicide.  Small cuttings of the stem or roots can grow a new plant, proper disposal at your local landfill is imperative to reducing further introductions – do not put in compost or yard waste piles.

More information about knotweed control options can be found at Knot On My PropertySea To Sky Invasive Species Council Control Methods and ISCBC TIPS sheet

Key Recommendations:

  • Control knotweed on your property.  Access step by step instructions for invasive plant management on private land, or a list of professional herbicide contractors in our region.
  • Carefully dispose of knotweed garden waste at your local landfill or transfer station. Knotweed must be double bagged and the landfill attendant must be notified of its contents prior to dumping. DO NOT COMPOST !!
  • Avoid planting invasive species. Alternative species and more information regarding this plant can be found on our website: http://columbiashuswapinvasives.org/resources-for-gardeners/

Scary facts:
Knotweeds can cause extensive damage to infrastructure and have been seen breaking through concrete foundations and asphalt along roadsides. The rhizomes of knotweed are incredibly resistant to cold weather and can survive to temperature below -35 degrees Celsius.

For an informative article on knotweeds by McLeans, The Plant That Is Eating BC, click here.

 

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Council of BC

Latin name:

Zebra Mussels: Dreissena polymorpha

Quagga Mussels: Dreissena rostriformis bugensis

Native to:

Southern Russia and Ukraine

Regional Distribution:
No confirmed infestations in BC. However, there was a close call when a boat carrying viable zebra mussels entered Shuswap lake in 2012. Once found, the boat was removed and decontaminated. Currently the Ministry of Environment is monitoring water quality to check for any signs of larvae or mussel activity in the impacted area. CSISS conducts mussel detection surveys in coordination with the Ministry of Environment throughout the region.

Description:
Zebra and Quagga mussels are small fresh-water mussels. They have a D shaped shell with striped patterning.  They grow from the size of a finger nail up to about 4-5 cm long. They attach themselves to various substrates by using string-like ‘byssal threads”. For more info visit the Zebra/ Quagga Mussel Fact Sheet developed by the Province of BC.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
Clean, Drain and Dry your boat before launching into another water-body.
Let’s keep BC Zebra mussel free; if you do find evidence of non-native mussels report them right away!

Fun facts:
These species could cause millions of dollars in damage if established in BC by clogging intake valves and waterways and damaging infrastructure. Zebra mussels damage local ecosystems and could impact recreational activities in the Shuswap and Columbia lakes.  The most effect step you can take to avoiding this damage is to Clean, Drain and Dry your boat before transporting it to another water body.

 

Zebra and Quagga Mussels

A major threat to BC’s freshwater lakes and rivers are zebra and quagga mussels.

For more information visit the BC Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group. 

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 1.18.56 PMClick to watch Mussel Threat

To Report a Mussel:
In British Columbia any suspected, transport, possession, sale or release of Zebra Quagga Mussel should be reported immediately to:

Conservation Officer Services Hotline 1-877-952-7277

 www.reportinvasives.ca website.

 

Latin name:

Iris pseudacorus

Native to:

Europe, central Asia and northwest Africa

Regional Distribution:
Yellow flag iris can be found in the shallows along the perimeter of lakes in the Shuswap region. It has naturalized from people’s gardens and can form a dense mat of rhizomes, out-competing native vegetation and reducing the quality of wetland habitats. Please do NOT purchase or plant these deceptive invasives!

Description:
Large yellow flower with broad, sword-shaped leaves. It is most easily identified when in bloom.
Yellow flag is the only iris to inhabit wetland areas; if you see it report it immediately and remove from private property.

Control:
The best control is prevention (do not plant in your garden) and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources:

http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/yellow-flag-iris-control.pdf

Fun facts:
Recent efforts have been made by the White Lake Stewardship group to remove an infestation of yellow flag iris threatening the wetland there.  Check out new research on Yellow Flag Iris control in our area!

 

Latin name:

Cytisus scoparius

Native to:

Central and western Europe

Regional Distribution:
Scotch Broom has been located South of Nakusp and in patches around the Shuswap lakes.
Report this weed with your location if you come across it!

Description:
Scotch Broom is a woody perennial that can grow up to 10 feet tall.
It has green trifoliate leaves and yellow flowers.  Green to black pods begin to develop and mature after flowering has occurred.

Control:
The best control is prevention and early action.
For recommended control methods please visit these resources: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/pnw103.pdf


Fun facts:
Scotch Broom is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae).
Its seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 30 years and a single plant can live to be up to 20 years of age.