Sustainable living is everyone's responsibility
Our community and economy depend on a healthy ecosystem–where plants, animals and waterways thrive because we focus on clean and sustainable land use practices that keep our environment strong.
Discover what the City is doing to manage these important issues in our community:
- Invasive species - plants, animals and insects
- Urban agriculture
- Watersheds and waterways
Burnaby counts about 3,000 species that are native to our region. But did you know there are ‘aliens’ in their midst? That’s the term for species not native to the area. While most are harmless, there are others we call ‘invasive alien species’ that hurt our local ecosystem by:
- Taking over food sources and habitat
- Damaging the environment
- Introducing plant diseases
- Creating ‘hybrids’
Their impact on the environment and the economy is serious and often irreversible. Controlling invasive alien species is expensive–and some are impossible to stamp out.
That leaves us with our best and only option–working together to stop the spread of these invasive alien species in our region. Here are the most common plants, animals and insects we need to eliminate.
Burnaby is committed to supporting and protecting natural environments by removing foreign plants and animals that harm our native species.
Giant hogweed is a large, hardy plant that grows fast in a variety of environments. It's harmful to people, producing a clear, poisonous sap that can burn, blister or scar skin when the skin that's come into contact with the sap is exposed to sunlight. The giant hogweed features a green stalk with purple spots that can grow up to 5 metres (16 feet) high, producing 'umbrellas' of white flowers that turn to seed and blow far and wide to sprout more hogweed. We're actively removing Giant Hogweed from public lands, and we ask all private landowners to remove giant hogweed plants from their properties as well.
Some helpful links:
Japanese knotweed is extremely difficult to eradicate. It was first introduced in BC as a landscaping groundcover because it grows quickly and it's quite attractive. It's quite prevalent near waterways, rivers and wetlands. Now it's on most Canadian provinces' noxious weed list because it's so destructive. It chokes off access to water for animals and other plants, causes erosion and ruins recreation waters meant for swimming and paddling. It's so aggressive and fast-growing its destructive root system can grow through concrete and asphalt.
We encourage you as a property owner to take steps to remove knotweed from your property. Eliminating knotweed takes time and you'll benefit by hiring a licenced pesticide professional to apply herbicides to knotweed infestations and to safely. Live knotweed should not be cut but can be roped off safely for treatment. Dead knotweed canes can be safely disposed of in your City yard waste.
The Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver (ISCMV) has produced an informative ISCMV Tackling Knotweed brochure to tackle all 4 varieties of knotweed, including Japanese knotweed. This brochure takes you through the best options and timelines to safely remove this destructive plant.
Visit the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver for more information about these invasive plants in our region:
Invasive animals are typically larger and more aggressive than their local relatives and they have fewer enemies to keep their population in check. Common invasive animals and amphibians in Burnaby include:
Many of these species were initially brought to Canada as pets or for food production, or they 'hitchhiked' here on plants, packaging or transport.
You 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 where you purchased them–or find them a new home. It's illegal to release any live fish or aquatic invertebrates to BC waterways without a permit.
Chafer beetles are a nuisance to homeowners. They infest lawns which cause crows, skunks, and raccoons to dig for larvae, ultimately damaging the turf of your lawn.
For more information, or to report a European chafer beetle problem, contact:
We work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to help control the spread of Japanese beetles. The larvae feed on the roots of turf grass and other plants. Adults attack the flowers, foliage and fruit of more than 250 plant species, including roses, blueberries and grapevines.
Since European fire ants were first found in BC in 2010, their presence has been confirmed in locations across the lower mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island
What we’re doing to eliminate/manage invasive species
Over a decade ago, we mapped the Still Creek Watershed and surveyed parks and greenspaces city-wide to determine the extent of invasive plants in Burnaby. These studies helped us develop long term strategies:
Preventing the spread of invasive plants in Burnaby greenspaces:
In our survey, we found that 19% of Burnaby’s greenspaces were infested with the top13 invasive species identified by the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver.
Since that time we continue to take these steps:
- Ground removal to get out the roots in target areas.
- Trials and testing to rid invasive species in park areas.
- Staff training to identify common invasive plant species.
- Enhanced parks maintenance practices to prevent the spread of invasive plants.
- Removing decorative (but invasive) plants from City horticulture.
- Ongoing public education and workshops on how to control common invasive plants and non-invasive garden alternatives.
- Providing support to community groups that are working on invasive plant issues.
Burnaby's Nematode Program has subsidized the cost of nematodes that eat chafer beetle larva during the month of May–it's reviewed annually.