Introducing the Kootenay Broom Busters Program: CKISS Mobilizes Community to Combat Invasive Species

We proudly announces the launch of the Kootenay Broom Busters Program, a pilot program aimed at harnessing community engagement to combat the spread of invasive Scotch broom in the Kootenays.

Invasive Scotch broom disrupts local ecosystems by outcompeting native plants and reducing biodiversity. Its dense growth also increases wildfire risk, posing a significant threat to surrounding habitats.

The Broom Busters Program is a community-driven initiative facilitated by CKISS, aimed at engaging Kootenay residents in hands-on action to mitigate the impacts of invasive Scotch broom on local ecosystems and wildfire risks. During a Broom Bash, volunteers come together to mechanically remove invasive Scotch broom infestations from their community, fostering a collaborative effort to address environmental challenges. Participants receive valuable hands-on learning experiences about the detrimental effects of invasive plants on ecosystems and economies, gaining insights into proper removal techniques and the importance of timing in cutting broom.

Supported by the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Local Conservation Fund, CKISS is launching the Broom Buster program across designated areas within the RDCK, with the goal of educating and inspiring residents to become community ambassadors. These ambassadors will be empowered to drive change and foster a deeper connection to the land, their neighborhoods, and each other, ensuring the program’s continued success and expansion. If you are interested in becoming a Kootenay Broom Buster please fill out the form below.

The inaugural Broom Busters event took place on Saturday, May 25, 2024.  CKISS partnered with the Creston Rod and Gun Club to tackle a Scotch broom infestation on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, between Destiny Bay and Sanca, near the ‘Glass House’. Fourteen keen volunteers showed up with clippers in hand ready to tackle Scotch broom patches.  Two other Broom Bash events are planned in June in Procter and the Nelson North Shore area. A big thank you to Brian Huscroft , Brandon Cardinal  and Heather Myers who are the first Kootenay Broom Busters Ambassadors who played a vital role in helping CKISS coordinate our first three events.

“Joining the Kootenay Broom Busters as a volunteer offers numerous compelling reasons to get involved. By participating in Scotch broom removal efforts, you’ll directly contribute to preserving native habitats and restoring biodiversity in our community. Additionally, your involvement will help enhance wildlife habitats, reduce the risk of wildfires, and improve outdoor recreational opportunities for hunters, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. Volunteering as a Broom Buster also allows you to promote environmental stewardship, gain valuable hands-on educational experiences, foster community involvement and collaboration, and make a tangible impact on the health of our ecosystems. Don’t miss this chance to be part of a meaningful initiative that benefits both present and future generations!” states Education Program Coordinator Laurie Frankcom

We are actively encouraging residents to get involved and contribute to the initiative’s success. Residents interested in participating in a Broom Bash or proposing future Broom Bash sites are encouraged to reach out to CKISS via email at CKISS is also seeking reports on Scotch broom infestations in the community, and residents can submit reports through the reporting form on the CKISS reporting form. Your involvement and input are crucial in the fight against invasive Scotch broom, and CKISS looks forward to collaborating with residents to address this pressing environmental issue.