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Invasive Species

Girant HogweedAmerican Bull FrogAsian Long Horned BeetleEuropean StarlingEuropean Red Fire AntHollyIvyKnotweedRed Eared SliderSquirrel Eastern Black

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    Invasive Species

    Invasive species are exotic or non-native plants or animals that adversely affect local habitats and also have economic, environmental and social impacts. Once established, invasive plants and animals are very costly to manage, control and/or remove. Previously, invasive species were only a concern to land managers who were trying to maintain biodiversity in management areas. In recent years, invasive species have become more of a residential concern, as invasive plants and animals have begun to impact the enjoyment of private properties.

    Invasive Animals

    Invasive animals are typically larger and more aggressive than their local counterparts and outcompete native species for food and habitat. Typically, invasive animals don’t have a predator or other conditions that might keep their population in check. Common invasive animals, amphibians and insects in Burnaby include the European Grey / Black Squirrel, the European starling, the European Chafer Beetle, the American Bullfrog, and the Red-eared Slider. More recently, the City of Burnaby has been managing the Northern Snakehead and the European Fire Ant.

    Many of these species were initially brought to Canada as pets or for food production, but were later released into the wild either by accident or intention. Others have entered BC as “hitchhikers” in packaging, on boats or in plant material. Now, some of these animals are so common, people mistakenly believe they are local. The Royal BC Museum even has a program called Aliens Among Us, documenting notable invasive species in BC.

    Residents can help by not releasing animals or pets to any waterway or green space in the City of Burnaby. Please take any unwanted pets back to the shop where they were purchased or find a new home for them. It is illegal to release any live fish or aquatic invertebrates to BC waterways without a permit.

    Invasive Plants

    Invasive plants are ornamental or garden plants that have been intentionally or accidently spread by human activity. Typical pathways of spread includes plant and soil sharing and green waste or soil waste dumping.

    Some of the most common invasive plants in Burnaby include Himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), English ivy (Hedera helix), Policeman’s helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) and yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon). Less common species such as Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) are also of high concern. Visit the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver for more information about invasive plants in our region. Residents can help by learning about the plants on their property, managing them, and disposing of their yard waste appropriately in their curbside green waste container.

    Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed, found in the City of Burnaby since 2006, is an invasive plant that poses a serious threat to natural ecosystems and human health. The sap contained in the hairs covering the plant and in the stem can cause severe burns when in contact with human skin and exposed to sunlight. The City of Burnaby is actively removing Giant Hogweed from public lands, and requests all private landowners to have Giant Hogweed plants removed from their properties.

    If you think you have seen this plant growing anywhere in the City of Burnaby, please report its location to the Engineering Department at 604-294-7460 for positive identification.

    Japanese Knotweed

    Japanese knotweed has been known to be in Burnaby since at least 2006, and is a threat to the environment, human health and safety, infrastructure and economics. Since its initial identification, four knotweed varieties are now known to exist in British Columbia: Giant Knotweed, Himalayan Knotweed, Bohemian Knotweed and Japanese Knotweed. The plant is able to sprout from plant cuttings and root fragments, with roots growing more than 5 meters deep. Digging or pulling the plant stresses the plant and encourages growth, and mowing spreads the plant fragments. The roots can grow through cracks in cement and asphalt, and break road surfaces, house foundations, and other concrete structures.

    Currently the only known method of controlling knotweed is through herbicide treatment. Although pesticide use is not permitted under the Burnaby Pesticide Use Control Bylaw 2008, there is an exemption for infestations know to cause structural damage. In addition, under the BC Weed Control Act, it is the responsibility of every land owner to control noxious weeds growing on their property, including knotweed.

    We encourage residents not to spread knotweed on their property. If the knotweed requires cutting, cut the plant in a single cut at the base of the plant, and place the material in your Green Bin (yard trimmings/food scraps toter). If your yard requires maintenance, manage the knotweed first, and avoid accidentally spreading the plant.

    City Management of Invasive Plants

    In 2006, the City of Burnaby developed a management plan for Still Creek Watershed that involved mapping of invasive plants, prioritization for invasive plant management, public education and prevention of invasive plant spread, risk management, monitoring and testing.

    In 2009, a City wide baseline survey of invasive plants in parks and green spaces was conducted to understand the extent and density of invasive plants in Burnaby. Survey results noted that 19% of the City’s green spaces were infested with the top 13 invasive species identified by the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver

    Since that time, the City has moved forward in a number of areas:

    • Targeted ground removal and control, and trials and testing in park areas
    • Staff training to identify common invasive plant species
    • Adoption of parks maintenance practices to prevent spreading of existing invasive plants
    • Prohibition of invasive plant use for City horticultural work
    • Public education and participation
    • Provision of public workshops on common invasive plants in Burnaby, how to control them, and what non-invasive plants make good garden choices
    • Provision of support to community groups working on invasive plant issues