It may look pretty, but purple loosestrife in the Campbell River estuary is an invasive species that is choking out native plants, so Greenways Land Trust is hosting a pull on Aug. 21 and needs some volunteers. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust

Purple loosestife: beautiful, yes, but bad for the Campbell River estuary

Greenways Land Trust looks for volunteers for removal of invasive species Aug. 21

A decade after the former industrial site on Baikie Island underwent a massive restoration, there is still plenty of work to be done, according to Greenways Land Trust.

The organization has taken much of the role of overseeing the work being done in what’s now known as the Baikie Island Nature Reserve, and executive director Cynthia Bendickson says the area has begun to look like a forest again, with wildflowers growing along the shores of the estuary, but native plants continue to be threatened by invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry and purple loosestrife.

So on Wednesday, Aug. 21, Greenways is hosting a volunteer event to remove some of these invasive plants.

“Aggressive non-native plants are a rampant threat to native plant communities and the species that depend on them,” Bendickson says. “Volunteer events are an excellent way to tackle the problem while also having fun.

“Conservation through collaboration can greatly increase our impact which is why we are so enthusiastic to be working with volunteers and partners such as the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the City of Campbell River to address the problem.”

From 10 a.m. to noon on the 21st, the volunteers will work to remove large areas of purple loosestrife by pulling the plants out by the roots.

Purple loosestrife, in spite of its beautiful appearance, continues to pose a threat by overrunning the native vegetation on the marsh and riverbank areas within the estuary, including rare species such as Henderson’s checker-mallow.

Volunteers will be provided with all tools necessary to complete the invasive species removal along with a free lunch.

“Community events are a wonderful opportunity to make a big impact on these problems quite quickly,” says Bendickson. “Events like this are essential in the ongoing efforts to re-establish a healthy, self-sustaining population of native plants in the estuary.”

Anyone interested in getting involved or wants more information on this or any other project the group undertakes is encouraged to contact Greenways at 250-287-3785 or by email at info@greenwaystrust.ca



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