Comox Valley Naturalists Society
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The regular monthly meeting of the Comox Valley Naturalists Society will be held September 20, 2009, at 7:00 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtenay. The featured speakers will be the noted Comox Valley environmentalist, Ronna-Rae Leonard, and local biologist Lora Tryon. They will discuss the management of invasive plants with special emphasis on knotweeds, and the use of goats for control of this invasive.
Eight years ago the Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards developed a comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. One of the goals is to restore and maintain the abundance of diversity of indigenous plant and animal species in the watershed. So, it is not surprising that when the Stewards noticed the early spread of alien and extremely invasive Japanese, Giant and Himalayan knotweed plants in the Comox Valley, they became determined to gain control of this growing threat to the health of the watershed. They have undertaken a number of knotweed-focused initiatives over the past four years, and last year developed a trial to use goats to control a patch of Giant knotweed.
The stewards undertook the project in partnership with the Comox Valley Farmers’ Institute, the 4H Gumbooters, and a local goat farmer. The project also benefited from a host of expert advisors, including provincial staff from the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Forests and Range, and Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, as well as help from Dr. Annie Booth, a researcher in Prince George, who gained renown with her goat project.
It was implemented, in part, as an activity of the Agri-Food Futures Fund, which is supported by a variety of federal and provincial government agricultural programs. Financial backing for this project was also provided by the province of British Columbia, through the Direct Access Program of the BC Gaming Commission, grants-in-aid from Areas A, B, and C of the Regional District. The City of Courtenay supports the trial to target a Giant knotweed patch on city-owned land at Malcolm Morrison Senior Park and has provided fencing materials.
A second season of using the foraging goats to control the knotweed is now nearing completion. The project is exploring the use of goats to control knotweed. The goats have helped to focus public attention on knotweed’s destructive nature and the 4H Club’s participation has been an invaluable part of the public education agenda. The project is also investigating the complex regulatory changes necessary in order to gain control over the plant, and also highlighting the constructive role that agriculture can play in an environmentally-friendly program to ensure species preservation and a strong, diverse environment.
Short Biography of Presenter, Ronna-Rae Leonard
Short Biography of Co-Presenter, Lora Tryon, RPBio
Previous Guest Speakers
Click on a link below to view descriptions of previous guest speakers.