Forget Politicians raising your taxes…it could be a plant!
Invasive knotweed has been accurately described as the plant that is eating BC. It can lower your property values by growing through foundations. Knotweed can increase your taxes by damaging road and sewer infrastructure.
Environmental Impacts of invasive knotweeds:
- Degrade wildlife habitat,
- Reduce biodiversity causing extinction of endangered species
- Contribute to soil erosion
- Increase wildlife hazards.
How dangerous is this plant?
When invasive knotweed was found growing beside the concrete footings of the Vancouver Lions Gate Bridge it was deemed a safety hazard by engineers, all bridge work stopped and immediate action was taken to control this invasive plant that had the potential to threaten public safety.
How did knotweed get here?
The 4 varieties of knotweed – Japanese, Giant, Himalayan and Bohemian – are originally from Asia, they were introduced to North America as a decorative garden shrub. Nicknamed “false bamboo” this tall and pretty plant was an easy sell because it is fast growing (6 cm per day) and requires minimal attention. Little did these gardeners’ know that the plants’ aggressive nature would end up causing a number of economic, social and environmental problems to the province in the future.
Illegal Dumping: A culprit in the spread of knotweed in the Kootenays
Invasive knotweeds have been a high priority plant for us (CKISS) for years now. Recent surveys by Matt and other staff have found 100’s of patches of knotweed popping up throughout the Central Kootenay Region.
”We are finding new infestations of knotweed popping up on forest service roads and along highways due most likely to illegal dumping. Recently over the Thanksgiving weekend we found a new illegal dump site of knotweed on the wagon road south of Rossland at the bottom of Whiskey Trail. There is simply no reason to dump invasive species illegally as they are accepted for free at regional landfills throughout the Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay. People may be unaware that the simple act of dumping garden waste causes complex problems by creating new infestations that must be managed and cost the tax payer more money,” states CKISS Executive Director Jennifer Vogel.
Proper disposal of invasive knotweed is imperative to stopping the spread of this plant. It only takes a small fragment of a knotweed root to start a new infestation. Under the Environmental Management Act illegal dumping of garden waste onto crown land can result in a fine of $575, a penalty of up to $1,000,000 or potential jail time up to six months. People can easily report illegal dumping by calling the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) hotline 1-877-952-7277. A fine and jail time can be avoided by simply taking bagged invasive plant material to local landfills free of charge to be properly disposed of.
We can help you if you have knotweed!
We offerscomplimentary landowner consultations to assist in plant ID, management options and proper disposal methods; please contact us if you are interested. You may have received a hand delivered “Knotweed Information Packages” that we have been distributing free of charge to landowners throughout the region to notify landowners that they may have knotweed on or adjacent to their property.
In addition to the landowner consultations, we also gives free presentations to businesses and municipalities on the best practices for knotweed management. In mid September of this year 2015 we were invited by Village of Slocan staff to provide a presentation to Council members regarding knotweed management. Our Executive Director, Jennifer Vogel lead the presentation and focussed on best management strategies for knotweed control, which include mechanical and herbicide treatments. According to Vogel, knotweed is very difficult to control once established and herbicide is the only effective treatment option available for long term control. There are a variety of herbicide options for knotweed control including imazapyr, triclopyr and glyphosate. These herbicides can only be applied by a qualified and licenced contractor. The CKISS recommends contacting herbicide contractors directly for more information on control options.
Vogel states, “The #1 method of control is prevention. If we as a community can stop new infestations from becoming established, through proper disposal of knotweed and not planting it in the first place, we can altogether avoid negative impacts to the environment and to the tax payers”.
Some communities, like Rossland are taking the proper steps in identifying problem patches and controlling them.
“We’ve had 5 priority treatment locations identified. We currently have $1,500 in the budget and the 5 locations will cost just under $3,000. Public Works will get 4 of the 5 locations done which will put us a bit over budget. We want to encourage all residents to be vigilant about eradicating this invasive plant and really applaud the efforts of CKISS to address it through education. This is a nasty plant!” states Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore
You can report knotweed infestations by using BC’s “Report-A-Weed” App on your phone or IPad or click here for more options. If you think you have invasive knotweed on your property and don’t know what to do you are encouraged to contact us , we can offer guidance on what the best course of action is if this plant is located on your land in order to protect your property’s value.