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Our Invasive Plant Management Strategy
There are over two dozen species of non-native invasive plants established in the District. While it is not feasible to eliminate them entirely, we can still control them in areas where they can cause significant social, ecological, and economic harm.
Our Invasive Plant Management Strategy will provide a comprehensive framework to help manage, prevent, treat, and control these harmful plants on both public and private land, using approaches that are consistent with regional and international best practices.
Download the complete draft strategy (PDF; 5.3MB)
Details of the strategy
Main goals of the strategy
Once established, invasive plants are challenging and costly to control. In response, the strategy will provide a framework and policy for strategic management of invasive plants in the District to meet five goals:
- Awareness — Effectively communicate why invasive plants are a problem
- Prevention — Keep new invasive plants from establishing and spreading
- Detection — Identify where invasive plants are growing early and accurately
- Treatment — Control invasive plants safely and effectively
- Restoration — Restore natural habitat affected by invasive plants
- Integrate — Our best practices are based on science and use an integrated pest management approach
- Preserve and protect — Our strategies seek to preserve, maintain, and restore ecosystem health and protect natural resources
- Be safe — We recognize that keeping the public and staff safe, as well as protecting infrastructure, are essential
- Be cost efficient — We prioritize our activities using a risk management approach, to maximize cost efficiency
- Collaborate — We collaborate and cooperate with staff, municipalities, agencies, and the community, to succeed
- Educate and communicate — We focus on education, communication, and operational practices
- Protect all lands — We address plant management on both private and public lands
- Adapt — We use an adaptive management approach to ensure we are making informed decisions
Our risk management approach
The risk of significant ecological, social, and economic impacts grow as invasive plants increase and spread. We are using a risk management approach to set our priorities, which make our activities as cost-effective as possible.
We consider individual plant species and the impact they can have, and adapt our tactics and actions to address those specific impacts.
An integrated treatment process
We decide on appropriate plant treatment methods based on the four steps of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) process:
- Prevention — Avoid the impacts of invasive plants to keep them from being introduced or established in the first place
- Detection — Control the spread of invasive plants through early identification
- Control and management — Use best practices to find the right technique to control the plant (manual, mechanical, cultural, biological, or chemical control)
- Restoration and monitoring — Restore the disturbed sites to prevent further invasion and monitor success
Invasive plants on private property
There are limits to how successfully we can control invasive plants in our parks and open spaces if these same plants continue to grow on private property. Our Invasive Plant Management Strategy explores preliminary options to help manage and control high risk invasive plants on private properties, including;
- Creating new District bylaws to regulate high risk invasive plant species
- Educating residents about treatment options
- Formalizing management protocol in the Protection of Natural Environment and Streamside Protection Development Permit Areas
- Including invasive plant surveys as part of Development Permit Areas
Council reports and decisions
While we did not have a strategic plan for treating invasive plants prior to this strategy, we have actively managed invasive plants on public lands since 1998.
This strategy builds on ongoing management initiatives that involve staff, community volunteers, stewardship groups, specialized contractors, and collaboration with our government and non-government partners.
Supporting our Official Community Plan
This strategy was initiated in 2014 to develop and implement an integrated invasive species management strategy to reduce the spread of invasive species, as identified in the District Official Community Plan (OCP), adopted by Council in 2011.
Future planning for climate change
The Strategy also reflects Goal 5 of the Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan (POSSP), adopted in 2012.
This goal, "to promote broad community stewardship of parks and open spaces to effectively conserve, protect and enhance ecological integrity and biodiversity,” is considered an important component of future planning for climate change adaptation within the District, since invasive plants can pose threats to native biodiversity.