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Invasive species feedback requested from public

Public consultation on invasive species to run until March 7 for residents of Areas B and D of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

Sea to Sky residents are being asked to comment on invasive species as part of a multi-agency plan to deal with the issue.

A public consultation will run until March 7 for residents in Squamish-Lillooet Regional District areas B and D.

"Japanese knotweed is one of the worst invasive species in the world, it has a lot of bad effects including effects on biodiversity, effects on water quality, on structures - it can grow through pavement and houses and can reduce property values," said Kristina Swerhun, executive director of the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council.

"In Whistler we are lucky, we have the least amount of problems, probably due to the fact that we are at the top of the pass, at a little higher elevation, it's a little harder for plants to get established and also because man has been here the least amount of time.

"Squamish is a much bigger problem."

Scotch broom is also considered to be an issue.

This is the first pest management plan for the region.

It is being implemented by the provincial ministries of: Transportation and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Environment, Forests, Mines and Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

As the name suggests invasive species reproduce exponentially, are difficult to eradicate and quickly choke out a region's more delicate native species.

Japanese Knotwood, which can grow in clusters of up to 20 square meters, is extremely hard to take out by hand as it can reproduce from less than a gram of root material.

It is typically spread through soil and gravel transfer.

"In this area there is lots of manual removal, Japanese Knotwood is getting herbicide trials because there is no way to manually remove it," said Swerhun.

"You'd have to rip up highways and that is our only prospect for herbicide use in the Sea to Sky."

The South Coastal Mainland strategy includes all provincial Crown land within the regional districts of Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, the southwest half of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (inclusive of Squamish but not including Lillooet) and the lower portion of the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District areas B and D are the last in the province to have an invasive species plan put in place.

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