Local Conservation Fund Feature: Winning the Battle Against Leafy Spurge

Photo by Juliet Craig

Listed as a provincial noxious weed, leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is an invasive plant with negative impacts. This plant thrives in open rangeland, inhibits the growth of native species, and can be toxic to grazing animals. It has become well-established in the Upper Columbia Valley around Radium, likely introduced with contaminated hay and further spread via heavy equipment. Leafy spurge poses a threat to upland grassland and open forest ecosystems of the region.

The East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), supported by the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF), has formed a long-term management strategy for leafy spurge, which has shown great success.

In its sixth year, the Strategic Invasive Plant Control of Leafy Spurge (SIPCOLS) project has been a benefit to the Columbia Valley. Thanks to ongoing funding contributions from the CVLCF, EKISC has been able to leverage funds from other sources to reduce the infestation and prevent further spread of leafy spurge with the use of herbicide treatments. The initial containment area has been reduced by over 50 per cent, and outlying leafy spurge sites are now being targeted.

“It is fantastic to see these previously degraded grasslands being restored to support functional native ecosystems,” states EKIPC`s Executive Director Todd Larsen.

In addition, the success of this project has encouraged other landowners (at several private acreages and ranches, industrial sites, and on First Nation lands) to manage leafy spurge on their lands.

Click here to learn more about SIPCOLS.

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provide funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The purpose of the CVLCF is to provide local financial support for important projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.