Recreation, Fish & Wildlife students at Selkirk College get the opportunity to take their classroom learning out into the community. Recently, students worked with Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society on managing invasive plants.
by James Panozzo on October 17, 2019
Today, myself among the other Selkirk College Recreation Fish and Wildlife students visited Beaver Creek Provincial Park. We were greeted by three friendly members of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS). We all gathered in a gazebo while Laurie informed students about the CKISS program.
CKISS is a non-profit society developed with the intent of promoting collaborative approaches to invasive species management in the central Kootenays. They work to raise awareness and educate the public, government, and landowners about invasive species. By means of education they are preventing further introduction and spread of invasive species in the area. They also promote management of invasive species throughout agencies and landowners, working towards controlling highly invasive non-native species.
CKISS focuses on both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species through several different programs. The program Plant Wise helps plant growers, retailers, and landscapers across BC to become invasive-free.
Play Clean Go program is aiming to reduce the spread of invasive species through recreation by promoting trail users to arrive and leave recreation sites with clean clothing, gear, equipment and pets. Buy It Where You Burn It program is designed to promote buying firewood locally so not to introduce invasive pests or diseases. Clean Drain Dry program promotes users properly clean watercrafts and boating equipment in order to reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms to BC waters.
After Laurie was finished informing us about CKISS we had the chance check out a display of invasive species that she had set up. This was very helpful to familiarize ourselves with the identification of invasive species. Shown below is a display of Zebra and Quagga invasive mussels.
Quite a number of invasive plant species were on display as well such as the hounds tongue shown below. Many of the displays featured a list of recommended management techniques as well as well as identifying features.
After familiarizing ourselves with invasive species, we were introduced to the restoration project. First off we had a look at the native plants that will be planted at the site. The list of plants included: dogwood, cottonwood, Oregon grape, chokecherry, black hawthorn, and common snowberry. A budget of $500 was spent on plants.
Laurie explained that the area is home to multiple blue listed species. These include two snake species: the Rubber Boa and the Northern Racer as well as a lizard the Western Skink. Students were directed not to disturb piles of rocks or coarse woody debris as they act as habitat for these reptiles. The group then took a walk through the restoration site and Laurie pointed out invasive species along the way. One of the invasive species identified was the red sorel (Rumex acetosella) seen below.
Invasive plants found within the restoration project were deadheaded and hand pulled, making sure that all plant matter is disposed of in garbage bags then sent to a landfill.
Native plants were planted in areas identified with flags by CKISS. All plants were watered and a flag was placed next to each plant so that a plant survivorship count can be recorded in the spring. This will identify how many plants made it through the winter.
Here is the finished product of a section right next to Beaver Creek. It was a good day of learning for the Recreation Fish and Wildlife class, and we were glad to be able to help CKISS with a good cause.