Five municipalities — Clinton, Clearwater, Logan Lake, Merritt, and Sun Peaks — have opted into the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Invasive Plant Management program, and residents and landowners within those communities now have access to the same assistance programs that are available in the TNRD’s electoral areas.
The service expansion was offered to TNRD member municipalities in 2019, to support increased invasive plant management efforts. Residents within the five municipalities that opted in are now eligible to participate in the program services, which are designed to help landowners manage select invasive plants on their private land.
Among the services offered are rebates for invasive plant control that is administered by a certified TNRD contractor; free equipment loan-outs, including sprayers, seeders, and fertilizer spreaders; and free insects for biological control, which is a herbicide-free option.
Residents can also get free private land consultations with an invasive plant specialist. Anyone who thinks they might have an invasive plant on their property can have it assessed, and if it is invasive then it will be removed in a safe and effective manner.
Invasive plants are any non-native plant species that have the capacity to negatively impact animals, humans, and ecosystems. There are currently more than 72 priority invasive plants in the TNRD, including Orange hawkweed and Bluweed, which are new invaders in Clinton.
That community was part of the Red Cross’s Elephant Hill Invasive Species Program for two years. The program ended after the summer 2021 season, and Clinton mayor Susan Swan says that the community found it beneficial and wanted to continue.
“We had a consultant here for two years, and people could sign up at the village office if they wanted her to inspect weeds on their property and see if it was an invasive species. If it was, she would remove it manually, without using herbicides.
“The response from the community was good, and quite a few people took advantage of it. Having someone on the ground for two years in a row really helped slow the spread of anything that might have been here.”
Clearwater mayor Merlin Blackwell says the program is important for his community, as there are some “pretty visible” invasive species in town beyond the usual suspects of Knapweed and Oxeye daisies.
“We have Yellow flag iris around Dutch Lake in the middle of town, and we’re concerned about the encroachment of that species. Japanese knotweed has been spotted inside and outside Clearwater. It’s halfway between bamboo and a tree, and it will break concrete foundations on houses. Once it gets established it’s almost impossible to remove. If you break it into pieces it will take off, like a starfish.
“Signing on gives people an opportunity to start tackling these things in a way we couldn’t really before. We have lots of rural/country residential properties and hobby farms, so if this gives people a handle on tackling their invasive species we’re all for it. We felt it was well worth the money for the District of Clearwater to buy into this.”
The TNRD supports all property owners in managing invasive plants. Disposal is free at TNRD solid waste facilities, and residents can access education and outreach programs through the Thompson-Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee Facebook page.
Residents can also visit www.tnipmc.com to learn about regional invasive plants, upcoming events, how to report invasive species, and to find other resources for invasive plant management.