Residents of the City of Merritt will soon be able to prevent the spread of noxious weed on their properties and throughout the community, thanks to a new partnership with the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) offering many free and subsidized services.

Five municipalities opted into the TNRD’s new Invasive Plant Management program, which sees landowners in communities to access the same preventative and responsive invasive plant programs available to those living in TNRD electoral areas in an effort to curb what it says is a worsening problem due to fires and flooding.

“What we found is that some of the invasive plant gaps across the region were within municipalities as they don’t have existing invasive plant programs,” said Coleen Hougen, invasive plant management coordinator for the TNRD.

“It’s pretty prolific, the issue has many impacts being economic, social, and environmental. With climate change, we’re forecasting that the invasive plant issue is going to get worse before it gets better.”

The City joins the District of Clearwater, District of Logan Lake, Village of Clinton, and Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality in the new initiative. Members of these communities can now access services such as free equipment loan-outs, including sprayers, seeders and fertilizer spreaders.

Consultations with an invasive plant specialist will also be offered free of charge, allowing landowners to assess their risk and take action on noxious weeds.

Any invasive plant-related services administered by a certified TNRD contractor will now be subsidized by the regional district, relieving the pressure of the possibly high costs of an invasive plant infestation. The TNRD says invasive plants are any non-native plant species that has the capacity to negatively impact ecosystems.

“We also have our invasive plant committee, which guides education and outreach across the region. We have staff members that are out trying to educate the public in terms of best management practices and what they can do to prevent invasive plants from spreading.”

More than 72 priority invasive plants exist in the TNRD, with 19 of them currently placed on ‘alert’ for their high level of spread and potential danger to wildlife and humans. The regional district’s Plant Management Committee looks to support his new initiative by offering free education resources to go along with these new physical supports.

Invasive plants can disrupt food chains, impact water quality, and potentially introduce diseases by limiting biodiversity. By introducing these new services, as well as bolstering existing offers such as free disposal of invasive plants at TNRD waste facilities, the hope of the program is to raise awareness and stop the spread.

May is BC’s eighth annual Invasive Species Action Month, and the provincial government is also reminding residents of the potential threats posed by these invasive plants, and highlighting residents’ joint responsibility in the prevention of spread.

“Our government works through the Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group, which includes the ministries of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture and Food, to keep B.C.’s ecosystems and wildlife safe from the threats of invasive species,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, and Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests in a joint statement.

“Together, we will continue to responsibly manage our natural resources and promote a StrongerBC for all British Columbians and our ecosystems.”
For more information on invasive species and to access prevention and control methods, visit