Battling invasive species

A non-profit society received nearly $60,000 to tackle invasive plants on Vancouver Island, including in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

A non-profit society received nearly $60,000 in grant money from the provincial government to tackle invasive plants on Vancouver Island, including in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Rachelle McElroy, executive director of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee who received the money last week, called the government’s contribution “critical.”

McElroy said the grant will save taxpayers money in the long run “by investing now to prevent the introduction — and control the spread — of invasive species.” She said CISC works alongside the French Creek Society, Qualicum Beach Stream Keepers and Oceanside Broombusters, among the many organizations.

“Invasive species degrade the natural biodiversity of our ecosystems,” Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell said in a news release. “This funding supports the CISC work to control the spread of invasive plants.”

A news release issued May 9 described invasive plants as “species that have been introduced into B.C. from other areas.”

According to the release, invasive plants displace our native vegetation and can pose a health risk while adversely affecting our economy and environment by disrupting natural ecosystems, increasing soil erosion and altering the chemistry of soil needed for commercial crops.

A total of $1.6 million is being distributed by the B.C. government to help local governments and regional committees.

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