Your help is needed on invasive species

Thank-you for the very informative article about invasive species. It’s a serious problem, as the article indicated.

Thank-you for the very informative article about invasive species (The NEWS, Dec. 10). It’s a serious problem, as the article indicated. Invasive species are the second greatest threat to Earth’s ecosystems, only second to development.

According to the Save the Frogs Foundation, bullfrogs have already driven 100 frog species to complete extinction.

We can’t blame Scotch broom on the Scots, English Ivy on the English, or Japanese knotweed on the Japanese.  It is the individuals who foolishly or naively brought these damaging invasive species here that are responsible.

But now, invasive species are a serious responsibility for everyone, especially government and landowners. Parksville and Nanaimo have complaint-driven bylaws that require landowners to remove certain invasive plants, like Scotch broom, from their property. The UK takes it a step further.

In the UK, individuals who ignore orders to control Japanese knotweed will have committed a criminal offence and can be fined up to £2,500. A criminal offence. Giant hogweed (also here locally) is included in the UK’s new law.

Scotch broom is our most familiar invasive plant. Dense broom used to line Village Way, Rupert and Memorial Road in Qualicum Beach. You don’t see much broom in town now, thanks to Broombuster volunteers who have been eradicating it here since 2006. In fact, please join the volunteers in April and May. Broom cut in bloom will die (see www.broombusters.org).

Broom invades natural areas with dire and dangerous consequences. Broom prevents reforestation and can ruin farmland, parks and green spaces with prolific seeds viable for over 30 years.

Last summer, BC Wildfire Service pointed to increased wildfire danger from broom and gorse on their website (www.bcwildfire.ca). Both plants are extremely flammable, with very high oil content and many dead branches. To let it run rampant under B.C. Hydro power lines is just asking for disaster.

Invasive species are a problem almost anyone can take action on, and the sooner the better. Your help is needed.

Joanne Sales, BroombustersInvasive Plant SocietyQualicum Beach

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