The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) is leading a three-year restoration project at Beaver Creek Provincial Park in Trail to improve wildlife habitat and to reduce erosion along the creek bed. With the help of volunteers from J.L. Crowe Secondary School and Selkirk College, invasive plants were mechanically removed and the area was replanted with native trees and shrubs this past fall.
Invasive plants are non-native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that become well established because they do not have any natural predators or controls. These introduced species spread quickly and out-compete native vegetation, which reduces biodiversity, affecting fragile ecosystems. Beaver Creek Provincial Park has a variety of invasive plants on site, which are impacting the habitat of species at risk such as the western skink, North American racer and northern rubber boa.
Selkirk College students from the Environment and Geomatics department assisted CKISS staff at the restoration site on October 7 by digging out the following non-native plants: spotted knapweed, hoary alyssum, common tansy, mullein, ribwort plantain and garden sorrel. The volunteers then replanted the area with the following native species: red-osier dogwood, mountain alder, Oregon grape, Saskatoon, choke cherry, cottonwood, snowberry, Nootka rose and baldhip rose.
On October 8, the CKISS led a field trip for grade 11 environmental science students from J.L. Crowe Secondary School at the park. The students participated in a variety of activities to expose them to the topics of ecology, biodiversity, and invasive vs native species. Every student had a chance to assist with restoration efforts by putting on their gardening gloves and planting a variety of native shrubs, plants and trees. Students also hand watered the newly planted shrubs and discussed the ecological and cultural value of the native species.
“This project to improve wildlife habitat at the park has truly been a team effort. We could not have done it without the support from BC Parks staff , keen students, teachers, our partners and our funders. The natives that we planted at the park have been given a good start and we are hopeful that they will survive over winter.”- States Laurie Frankcom, CKISS Education Program Coordinator
The restoration endeavor is funded by Environment Canada’s Eco Action Community Funding Program and Columbia Basin Trust. CKISS staff and volunteers will revisit the site in 2020 to continue with restoration activities and monitor the site for plant succession.