For the second year in a row, with the helping hands of volunteers, the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) organized restoration efforts at Beaver Creek Provincial Park.
Community and youth volunteers teamed up with CKISS to target an area of Beaver Creek that was previously dominated by invasive plants.
Invasive plants were removed and this patch was replanted with over 200 native species.
The goal of the project is to improve the habitat for the Western skink, rubber boa and American racer, native species at-risk that call the area home.
By planting along the creek bed the organization is also aiming to reduce erosion.
Native plants and trees prevent erosion by stabilizing soil along creek beds. Soil from eroding land that washes into streams negatively effects water quality.
The muddy water can cut off light to aquatic plants, clog fish gills and degrade fish habitat.
Native vegetation that grows along rivers, creeks and streams are also important to aquatic ecosystems. They provide shelter, food and the shade creates ideal water temperatures for aquatic animals.
Community weed-pull events with volunteers and school groups were scheduled for the spring but needed to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
When the province moved to phase three of their restart plan, CKISS started to plan fall planting events at Beaver Creek Park with additional safety protocols and disinfection polices in place to keep everyone safe.
On a beautiful sunny day in late September, CKISS staff were joined by four keen volunteers for a two hour “planting party.”
The volunteers answered a last minute call from CKISS after the original school group that was scheduled to volunteer with CKISS cancelled for reasons out of their control.
On Oct. 1, a group of volunteers from the 1st Robson Scouts and Venturers lent a helping hand and completed the planting task.
“Native plant diversity is vital to an ecosystem’s health. They provide habitat for wildlife, can help fight climate change and they are beautiful to look at,” says CKISS Education Coordinator Laurie Frankcom.
“In addition, native plants have cultural value. For thousands of years First Nation groups in B.C. have used plants for medicine, (as well as) materials for tools and food.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with CKISS is encouraged to contact Laurie Frankcom at 1.844.352.1160 ext. 208. or email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
CKISS is a non-profit society that delivers education and awareness programs, and promotes coordinated management efforts of invasive species in the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area A and B. CKISS acknowledges the support of its funders, including the Columbia Basin Trust, Environment Canada’s Eco Action Community Funding Program and BC Parks.