STRENGTH IN COLLABORATION
The 2016 season has been busy for the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), and the fall gives us an opportunity to share and celebrate some program successes. We know that this summer provided a good growing season for weeds. There was a lot of rain and few scorching hot days. Weeds proliferated in the East Kootenay and across the province.
Fortunately, EKISC had expanded its programs for 2016, and was able to utilize these resources and initiatives to deal with the increased weed issues. For example, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) provided EKISC with an additional allotment of funds in the fall to treat invasive plant sites along highways, secondary, roads, and gravel pits. These sites would not have been treated this season if not for the additional capacity of EKISC, the resolute efforts of East Kootenay residents, and MOTI’s response to the issue.
EKISC has developed a diverse, sustainable financial portfolio, with various terms and partners. A majority of funds are delivered directly to on-the-ground invasive species management –including mechanical, biological, and chemical treatments. Funds are also directed towards an efficient, strategic operational plan for sites and species, as well as essential monitoring duties, data management, and reporting. An expanded field operations program resulted in more weed sites managed, disturbed areas re-seeded, waterbodies surveyed, and industry partners engaged.
In addition, some funding partners have made it possible for EKISC to enhance our Education program. A focus has been on target messages such as “Clean Drain Dry”, specific audiences including forestry industry and recreation, and through general awareness about the impacts of invasive species. The Education crew organized over 60 events in the summer! There were many opportunities for land managers and owners to learn about invasives, and provide input to EKISC such as the Field Tour, Community Open House series, and the October General Meeting. This newsletter is an example of how EKISC is communicating our achievements with members, residents, and other stakeholders.
This year, EKISC has continued to expand existing partnerships and develop new ones. We will continue to evaluate how to most efficiently and effectively manage invasive species in the region, and through collaborations with neighbouring jurisdictions. With the support of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, EKISC works with partners to identify and protect high-value conservation lands in the region such as critical grasslands, ungulate winter range, and habitat for species at risk. On a larger landscape, EKISC is a member with the Crown of the Continent –a cross border partnership with Alberta, Montana, and BC in the Rockies –with invasive species as a core conservation issue.
We will maintain communication with East Kootenay stakeholders over the winter as we develop and refine strategic plans for the organization and various programs. We welcome your input and recommendations!
Thanks you for your interest and support for EKISC to assist in realizing our mission: mitigating the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of invasive species.