RICHMOND – The provincial government is providing $7,000 to the City of Richmond to help control the spread of invasive plants.

This is one of 29 grants, totalling $1,702,000, that are being distributed provincewide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“Invasive species can cause a lot of damage to commercial crops and can be very detrimental for livestock,” said Richmond-East MLA Linda Reid. “Protecting our ecosystem from invasive species is an important part of keeping B.C.’s agricultural economy strong.”

“Limiting the spread of invasive species is absolutely vital to protecting both our environment and economy,” said Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap. “These are plants and animals that damage our natural ecosystem and adversely affect our economy. I’m proud that our government is being proactive in tackling this issue.”

The funding will be invested in activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these plants.

Invasive plants are species that have been introduced into British Columbia from other areas. They displace native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some pose a health risk to people (e.g. skin irritation). Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.

To learn more Invasive Plant Program, visit: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/plants/index.htm