Awarded to the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council to decrease the infestation levels of leafy spurge — 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 (EKISC)

DESCRIPTION: Originally introduced to the Columbia Valley in the 1960s, the invasive plant leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) has become well-established in the area and makes up the vast majority of leafy spurge infestations in the Regional District of East Kootenay. The negative impacts of leafy spurge are substantial, and it is considered one of the most aggressive invasive plants in British Columbia. Leafy spurge readily displaces desirable vegetation in rangeland, pastures, and native habitats. The Strategic Invasive Plant Control of Leafy Spurge (SIPCOLS) project delivers significant ecological and economic benefits to the upper Columbia Valley through completing inventory and management actions on leafy spurge infestations.

OBJECTIVE: The primary goal of the SIPCOLS project is to work collaboratively with area stakeholders to decrease infestation levels and prevent new introductions of leafy spurge in the upper Columbia Valley. Objectives of this project include: 1) Inventorying all known and newly identified leafy spurge sites in the project area; 2) Creating a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder management plan for leafy spurge in the Columbia Valley, focusing on areas that are of high habitat value and pose the greatest threat to adjacent land managers (i.e., Wildlife Management Areas, conservation lands, Shuswap Band lands, agricultural lands); 3) Treating identified high-priority infestations within 1 km of private land within the project area; and, 4) Communicating the importance of controlling leafy spurge to stakeholders and community members within the Columbia Valley.

PHOTOS: Juliet Craig, EKISC

This video provides an excellent overview of the SIPCOLS project.