How CKISS Manages Invasive Species
- The CKISS mission is to protect ecosystems and communities by preventing and reducing the harmful impacts of invasive species. To fulfill this mission, CKISS educates, works with, and calls to action area residents, visitors, and a diverse range of communities and organizations.
Our Role in Managing Invasive Species
- CKISS collaborates with more than 50 agencies and groups to facilitate invasive plant management activities in our region.
- CKISS is not a landowner and has no authority or obligation to control invasive plant species. Rather, the role of CKISS is to facilitate the delivery of invasive plant management activities in the region.
The Purposes of CKISS are to:
- Raise awareness and educate the public, government agencies, and other land managers about invasive species and their impacts in the area;
- Prevent the further introduction and spread of invasive species in the area through education and awareness, early detection and control, and coordinated integrated weed management efforts;
- Promote coordinated and collaborative management of invasive species between agencies and land occupiers;
- Work towards the control/containment of highly invasive non-native species; and
- Provide a conduit for information and a source of expertise on invasive species.
Supporting an Integrated Pest Management Approach
- CKISS practices are based on the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, a comprehensive strategy which is used across numerous industries.
- IPM refers to the practice of preventing or reducing damage caused by pests by using a combination of actions. This involves using the best available information, along with a variety of ecologically and economically sustainable approaches and control methods.
- This approach means that rather than just working to treat invasive species, CKISS also conducts and advocates for the following actions:
- Managing the resource to prevent the introduction of invasive plants;
- Correctly identifying invasive plant species and applying control strategies based on knowledge of their biology, ecology and response to management;
- Conducting inventories and mapping, and monitoring invasive plant populations and damage;
- Making control decisions based on knowledge of potential damage, cost of control methods, and the environmental impact of both the invasive plant and the control decision;
- Using control strategies that may include a combination of methods such as biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical controls to reduce the invasive plant population to an acceptable level;
- Undertaking control during the proper time of year; and,
- Evaluating the effectiveness and impacts of management decisions.
CKISS surveying a riparian area for the presence of invasive plants.
The use of special tools such as magnifying glass to assess key characteristics for proper plant identification.
CKISS mechanically removing scentless chamomile (Tripleurospermum inodorum), a high priority invasive plant.
Installation of a No-Mow sign to inform roadside contractors not to mow knotweed, a highly invasive plant that spreads by fragmentation.
Monitoring invasive plant populations using linear transects.
Use of permanent plots as an example of monitoring plant populations.
Focus on Prevention
- IPM is a balanced approach, which focuses on prevention rather than eradication, for managing invasive species.
- Once established, invasive species can be very challenging and costly to manage. Preventing invasive species from being introduced into our region is the most effective way to mitigate their impacts.
- Prevention-based activities include: distributing a list of species of concern; preventing intentional plantings or nursery sales; cleaning vehicles, equipment and machinery of seeds and plant parts; and, implementing other best management practices.
- Prevention strategies are a significant component of CKISS education and outreach programming.
How We Make Decisions
- CKISS seeks to control and contain invasive species using effective management techniques with up-to-date approaches, technology, and best management practices.
- Our decision making process is guided by current research, collaboration and consultation with other invasive species organizations, and the Provincial Government.
- We also monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our own management efforts and adapt our practices accordingly.
A Prioritized Approach to Management
- Given limited resources for invasive plant management, CKISS manages invasive species using a prioritized approach. Our annual Priority List reflects this approach; each species is categorized based on several factors including the phase of invasion and the potential impacts of the species. The priority category for each species guides our treatment activities for that species.
- The following principles guide CKISS’ prioritization of species:
- 1: Prevention and early intervention provide the most cost effective means of invasive plant management.
- 2: Eradication of widely established invasive plants on a regional scale is not a reasonable expectation.
- 3: Prevention of spread of some invasive plant species is possible through a coordinated effort and the establishment of containment lines (containment lines serve to prevent established populations of invasive plants from spreading into new areas).
- 4: Invasive plant treatments are most effective when they occur in the context of long-term management which includes post-treatment restoration or remediation activities.
- 5: Coordinated planning and implementation with key stakeholders provides the greatest likelihood of long-term success.
- The species priority list is based on our best knowledge of these species and their impacts in the Central and Kootenay Boundary regions. Consideration is also given to regional lists in adjacent jurisdictions, Provincial Priority Invasive Species list, and the MFNLRORD Top 25 Crown Land Priorities.
How the Priority List Guides our Activities
- Unfortunately, species that are widely established on a regional scale cannot realistically be eradicated. Therefore, CKISS focuses our resources and efforts on the following:
- High risk species that are in the Regional EDRR or Eradication categories and have high potential to spread. Invasive plants that have not been previously detected or are found in small, isolated spots within the Invasive Plant Management Area will receive first priority.
- High risk Containment species outside of containment lines.
- Moderate risk species (Containment species within containment lines) or Established species on or near sites of high value or with high potential to spread. Infestations along trails receiving high seasonal use, habitats for species at risk, and areas near hay production are examples of locations that may be a high priority for treatment.
Additional Information and Resources
- Mechanical treatments refer to the removal of plant materials using physical methods such as hand-pulling, digging, cutting, and mowing.
- Chemical treatments control plant populations through the use of herbicides.
- A list of professional herbicide contractors can be found here.
- Invasive plant populations may be controlled using cultural treatments such as prescribed burns and livestock grazing.
- CKISS does not currently apply either of the above cultural treatments in their management approach.
- Biological treatments refer to the use of living insects (i.e., biological control agents) to control invasive plant populations.
- The insects are generally species-specific, and will selectively use or consume plant material to complete part or all of its life cycle, thereby damaging the plant and contributing to the reduction of its population.
- The insects will not eradicate a plant population; rather, they will contribute to reducing that population.
- CKISS does not currently release biological control agents on invasive plants.
- CKISS may monitor these insects to assess the effectiveness of the biocontrol treatment, and whether additional treatments are necessary.
Adult biological control agents feeding on an invasive plant.
Biological control agents in the larvae stage detected within hound's tongue (Cynoglossum officinale).
Root damage indicative of biological control agent on hound's tongue (Cynoglossum officinale).
Biocontrol agent and foliar damage on purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).
Adult biocontrol agent on spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe).
Adult biocontrol agent on the seed head of spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe).