Purple loosestrife is a common invasive plant in wetlands areas. File photo

Volunteers tackle purple invaders in Campbell River Estuary

Nature Conservancy and Greenways combine to fight invasive plants

A group of 10 or so volunteers battled to thwart an invasion in the Campbell River Estuary last Thursday.

Under the hot sun, they were busy working at Baikie Island Nature Reserve to remove an influx of purple loosestrife. Along with removing the invasive plant, volunteers had the chance to learn about plant identification through a special app called iNaturalist and help conduct a mini species inventory of the area.

“We’re working today with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to do invasive species management work in the Campbell River Estuary,” said Cynthia Bendickson, Executive Director of local conservation group Greenways Land Trust.

Purple loosestrife is considered, alongside other invasive species like Himalayan blackberry, as one of the bigger threats to native vegetation in the region of the Campbell River Estuary.

“Aggressive non-native plants are a rampant threat to native plant communities and the species that depend on them,” said Nature Conservancy of Canada Conservation & Engagement Coordinator Travis Muir in a news release. “Conservation 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 Greenways Land Trust on this project.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is a not-for-profit private land conservation organization that, since 1962, has helped protect more than 1.1 million hectares of natural habitat across the country, including almost 400,000 hectares in B.C.

The NCC worked with Greenways Land Trust to organize the volunteer event on July 26 as part of an effort to re-establish a healthy, self-sustaining population of native plants at the site.

While purple loosestrife may have a beautiful appearance, it can overrun the native vegetation at marsh and riverbank areas of the estuary and can even present problems for boats when navigating through the waterways areas.

“It’s a wetlands species that can tend to take over marsh areas within the estuary,” Bendickson said. “In B.C. particularly, it’s a huge problem…. It tends to out-compete a lot of other species and can take over, so other species don’t have room to grow.”

She described the estuary as “a jewel in the city” and important to all kinds of wildlife, including the city’s well-known tyee run, and credited the efforts of many partners such as the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, the City of Campbell River and the Nature Conservancy of Canada in helping to make the site a thriving wildlife habitat.

“Purple loosestrife has been here for several years … at least a couple of decades,” Bendickson said.

“The land, when it was originally restored in the early 2000s, it was here as well…. We’re hoping to make a big final push with this in the next couple of years, to actually eradicate it from the estuary.”

Through groups such as Greenways Land Trust and its partners, the estuary has been undergoing a transformation.

Baikie Island and it surrounding foreshore was purchased in 1999 by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the City of Campbell River, along with support from the local community and The Tula Foundation.

Current restoration work focusses on removing invasive species and planting the area with native vegetation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River RCMP to focus on domestic violence awareness and prevention

One of the most disturbing crimes that officers deal with in the… Continue reading

Willow Point Elementary needs your vote

Library initiative vying for prize money in Follett Challenge

Friday is the deadline for students to get Bowl for Breath registration in

Calling all students – the 32nd Cystic Fibrosis Bowl for Breath needs… Continue reading

Citizen birders contribute to 120th annual Christmas Bird Count

Species tallied in Campbell River, Cortes and Quadra Islands and Port McNeill

Campbell River Museum hits the 15 year mark for its Used Book Sale

Book donations are now being accepted and can be brought to the Museum’s back door off of 4th Ave

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Rainfall warning issued for east Vancouver Island

Warning issued for area from Nanoose Bay to Campbell River

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

Most Read