Awarded to the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) to decrease the infestation levels of Leafy Spurge (LS) — identified as one of the ‘100 Worst Invasive Alien Species’ globally by the Invasive Species Specialist Group — in the Upper Columbia Valley, which is considered to have one of the highest concentrations of leafy spurge in the province.

PROPONENT: East Kootenay Invasive Species Council

DESCRIPTION: Since 2011, EKISC has received funding from the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund to chemically control Leafy Spurge in a more intensive and coordinated method on Crown land in the area. During the 2019 field season, EKISC coordinated the inventory and treatment of 99 LS sites across high value grasslands and conservation areas in the upper Columbia Valley in collaboration with various stakeholders (Regional District of East Kootenay, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Village of Radium, Canada Wildlife Service). Chemical treatments were delivered in early October using 1,693 L of herbicide mix, covering an area of 8.45 ha. Approximately 10% of treatment sites were monitored to assess treatment completion and herbicide efficacy and all inventory and treatment data were entered into the Provincial Invasive Alien Plant Program database prior to December 1, 2019.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this project is to control and prevent the spread of leafy spurge (LS) infestations in RDEK Electoral Areas F and G, including inventory and mapping of existing and new LS sites, and treatment of LS sites within 1 km of private property.

An assessment of 2019 treatment locations indicate that herbicide treatments are continuing to be successful for management of LS by reducing the spread and size of existing infestations, and ultimately supporting healthy ecosystem function in the upper Columbia Valley. Specifically, in 2019, 100% of project site locations in the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area (CWWMA) were treated – the first time this large of an area has been covered in one year. Site monitoring resulted in a 100% site completion score and a 95% treatment efficacy score. At a site-specific level, EKISC was also seeing successes in long term treatments, i.e., areas where over time the use of herbicide and area treated is decreasing. By managing existing LS infestations, EKISC is actively preventing the spread and introduction of this species into neighbouring areas. Finally, EKISC is continuing to engage new stakeholders in this project, building support for LS management in the upper Columbia Valley.

PHOTOS: Juliet Craig, EKISC

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This video provides an excellent overview of the SIPCOLS project.