It has been called “the plant that’s eating B.C.” bringing down real estate value and choking out native ecosystems. Thankfully, the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is on it. Executive Director Robyn Hooper sat down with Reved Quarterly to talk tips for dealing with knotweed and other invasive species before they destroy us all.
RQ: FIRST, LET’S DIFFERENTIATE CSISS (YOUR ORGANIZATION) FROM CSIS (THE CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE) … WHO IS PROBABLY READING THIS RIGHT NOW.
RH: CSISS is the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society. We are a non-profit society that works to educate and engage the public, private landowners, land and aquatic managers, First Nations and others about invasive species and their impacts.
RQ: ALTHOUGH, CSISS AND CSIS ARE BOTH TRYING TO STAY AHEAD OF THINGS THAT ARE INVASIVE IN NATURE—WHAT ARE SOME HIGH-LEVEL THREATS RIGHT NOW?
RH: The biggest threat to BC currently are Zebra Quagga mussels, which is why the province has set up inspection stations to stop infested boats from entering BC’s waters. One of the worst invasive species in Revelstoke is Knotweed or “False Bamboo” that has been unknowingly planted in many gardens and yards around town.
Knotweed, pictured right there, looks like bamboo but it’s knot … weed. Other high-priority invasive species are listed at columbiashuswapinvasives.org For more info call 1-855-PUL-WEED or email email@example.com
RQ: WHAT ARE THE HELLISH INDICATORS OF KNOTWEED?
RH: Knotweed grows up to eight centimetres per day, grows three metres deep and re-grows from any part of its stem or roots —so, very challenging to treat! Do not mow or compost this species as it is very easily spread. Digging it out is also very risky, and it seems to grow through any barrier you put on top including pavement and concrete.
RQ: GOOD GOD. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY?
RH: Knotweed has huge impacts on our economy and environment. There is an infestation near Williamson that is growing into the Columbia wetlands and riparian habitat. Knotweed forms dense stands impenetrable to local wildlife and causes stream bank erosion. It also reduces land values, as it grows through house foundations, concrete and pavement.
RH: Learn about what is in your backyard. If you have knotweed, contact CSISS for tips on how to treat it safely. Definitely do not mow or compost this easy to spread species. It needs to be properly treated or very carefully bagged and brought to the landfill for deep burial.
RQ: WHAT ARE OTHER HIGH-PRIORITY INFESTATIONS?
RH: Other than knotweed, we are also on the watch for and hoping to eradicate small sites with Himalayan balsam/Policemen’s Helmet, Scotch Broom, Rush Skeletonweed, Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Flag Iris, Cypress/Leafy Spurge, and I could go on. We are also on the watch for American Bullfrog, which has not yet been found in this region.