Treatment for Noxious and Invasive Weeds on City Property
May 9, 2019
In 2013/2014, a Strategic Plan was developed by West Fork Resource Management Ltd. (WFRM) to guide the City in a more integrated management-based approach and recommended the development of a formal plan to encompass all aspects of invasive plant management specific to Fernie’s environmental, economic and social values. Following this, an initial base Invasive Plant Management Plan was developed in 2014, it highlighted known areas of concern for treatment efforts and identified steps for preventative actions. It was recommended at this time that a comprehensive inventory of the City be conducted to identify all areas of concern and to prioritize these areas for future management. In 2017, WFRM was contracted to conduct an extensive city-wide inventory; survey results identified 191 invasive plant sites, containing fifteen different invasive plant species. In 2018, WFRM conducted herbicide treatments on the highest priority sites on City-owned lands. The 2014 Invasive Plant Management Plan was also updated in 2019, which now includes a broad scope of integrated invasive plant management actions for all areas within the City.
Invasive and noxious weeds pose a potential risk to people, animals and ecosystems. These weeds can quickly spread causing negative economic, social, and environmental impacts. It is the City’s commitment to ensure that our public places are safe and sustainable for long-term use and enjoyment and our significant investments are protected.
Under BC provincial legislation, the City of Fernie is responsible to treat and prevent noxious and invasive weeds within city limits.
The City of Fernie’s Pesticide Use Control Bylaw No. 2093 regulates the use of pesticides for non-essential purposes. As stated in the Bylaw, the regulation does not apply to the application of pesticides for the control of noxious weeds of invasive plants on public property.
As a continuation of the program, WFRM has been contracted in 2019 to treat the sites that contain invasive or noxious weeds. Sites have been prioritized according to species and various characteristics, they are identified as P1 (high priority), P2 (medium priority) or P3 (low priority). Treatment will be directed at the species considered to be most aggressive and invasive as well as targeting the sites that are most susceptible and environmentally and economically valuable.
WFRM anticipates starting herbicide treatments in late May/early June and will carry out applications on City properties throughout July, August and September. As per the measures laid out in the Pesticide Use Control Bylaw to notify residents of pesticide use, “Planned Herbicide Treatment Notice” signs will be posted 48 hours prior to application and will specify the time and date of the planned application. “Herbicide Use” signs will be posted at the time of treatment and remain in place 72 hours following treatment. Written notice will be provided to residents of adjacent lots where planned treatments are to occur. A list of sites that have been designated for hand-pulling due to location or sensitive environment has been provided to the City.
There will be a planned community weed-pull event in 2019. Further details will be provided in the coming weeks.
Residents are encouraged to identify and remove noxious and invasive weeds on their property, as per the Unsightly Property Prevention Bylaw No. 1587:“prohibit persons from causing or permitting water, rubbish, or noxious, offensive or unwholesome matter to collect or accumulate around their premises; and further, to prevent unsightliness on real property, and further, to require the owners or occupiers of real property, or their agents to clear property of brush, trees, noxious weeds or other growths.”
The City will take measures to begin enforcing this bylaw as part of the City-wide approach to managing invasive weeds. Residents will be provided with information on ongoing program activities, and also invited to attend an open house that will be hosted by the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council.