An Invasive Species is any plant or animal species that is introduced into an environment where the species is not native. There are numerous examples of plants, insects, birds and animals that have been transplanted from their natural environments, either by accident or intentionally, into areas where they end up having a serious impact on the natural ecosystem. In some cases, climate change is contributing factor in some plant and animal species creating environmental damage as the plants and animals extend into new areas, or the natural controls against them collapse. The Pine Beetle is often noted as an example of how the warmer and shorter winters contributed to the massive infestations in BC.
In addition to the natural environment impacts, some invasive plants can speed up the deterioration of public and private infrastructure. Just as the tree that you planted 20 years ago in the back yard has now grown to the point that the root system is pushing up your driveway, or the Ivy you planted has completely grown over your retaining wall and rooted into the cracks in the concrete or wood ties, invasive plants can accelerate the destruction of man-made materials.
The City of Prince Rupert is currently working with the Northwest Invasive Plant Council to deal with this noxious plant. Attached please find an information handout from the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.
If you have positively identified Japanese Knotweed on your property and are looking for treatment options, you can contact Spectrum Resource Group, the main invasive plant contractor for the Skeena/Prince Rupert Region. Please call their main line at 250-564-0383, can select 0 for administration and leave a voicemail there for someone to return your call.
Cow Parsnip vs. Giant Hogweed
We know, they look the same! The primary difference between the two species (which are in the same family) is their size, leaf shape, and the general higher severity of burns/skin lesions that can accompany Giant Hogweed as compared to Cow Parsnip (though both can be nasty).
Cow Parsnip is a native species and therefore is not considered invasive. However given the possibility of adverse reaction, please do not touch the plants or ensure you wear appropriate protection when handling it. Best practices for removing it from your property include:
1. Using appropriate protection (gloves, goggles, full length sleeves) when handling the plant;
2. Avoiding the use of lawnmowers and weedwhackers, which may spread the plants secretions and/or seeds;
3. Leaving the plants to dry out once cut back, then bagging them in black plastic bags before sending to the landfill or burning them;
4. Covering the exposed root system with material to block out the light, or treating with pesticide to stop it from spreading; and,
5. Avoiding composting any of the plant material, which may cause it to spread.
Please note that although Cow Parsnip is common here, Giant Hogweed has never been positively identified in Prince Rupert. If you believe that you have identified Giant Hogweed based on the above description, please report it to the Northwest Invasive Plant Council at: 1-888-933-3722 or through the Report a Weed application, available here: http://www.reportaweedbc.ca/