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There are several ways to report invasive species. Please check out our reporting page here for all the options.
Knowing the correct identification of a species is important when considering what can be done about it. If you aren’t sure what species you are dealing with, e-mail or text us a photo and we will try to help identify it! There are also a number of great plant apps available for download. Check our recommended list of plant apps to learn more.
Tips on taking good photos for identification purposes:
For plant photos, it is helpful to include an item that shows the scale of the species, for example place a coin or gardening tool next to the plant. Take a photo of the entire plant, but also take photos of different parts of the plant such as the leaves, stem, and flowers/seeds (if present). Higher resolution photos are helpful to zoom in to observe different features.
Wildlife photos are difficult to capture. For insect photos, try trapping the insect in a clear container and then taking a photo – a glass jar or plastic container will work well, if you have one handy! For photos of other wildlife, do not disturb or approach the animal, but try to get a clear and steady photo at the highest resolution possible.
Although many species are considered invasive within Metro Vancouver and other regions in BC, very few are legislated. Furthermore, even plants that are designated as ‘noxious weeds’ under the BC Weed Control Act Regulation or ‘invasive’ under other legislation, are not restricted from being sold or traded. Some municipalities in BC have tried to address the gap in legislation by adopting bylaws that make it an offense to plant or sell invasive plants (for example, the District of Squamish bylaw). However, there is currently no Provincial and no local government legislation within the Metro Vancouver region banning the sale or trade of invasive plants.
A few local retailers have voluntarily made the commitment to ban the sale of invasive plants, but unfortunately these plants are still sold by many garden centres, supermarkets, and individuals online. PlantWise programs across Canada support the horticulture industry’s transition to become invasive free. Check out the ISCBC’s Grow Me Instead resource to learn which invasive plants are most problematic in the horticulture industry, and which alternative species can be “grown instead”.
Invasive species managers have been communicating the need for new and enforced legislation (for example, an Invasive Species Act for BC) that would ban the sale of invasives, and address the management of all species – not just noxious weeds. However, this requires public support to call governments to action on this important conservation issue.
Everyone can help spread the message about the impacts of invasive species by encouraging retailers to stop selling invasive species. As a consumer of seeds or plants, you can support local retailers that sell native plants or that have voluntarily banned the sale of invasive species.
The answer depends on which plant you have and what type of composting program exists in your neighbourhood. Residents who wish to dispose of invasive plants or soil containing invasive species should contact their municipality directly for disposal advice. Some municipalities ask residents to place them in the green bin, some the garbage bin. Residents should not put invasive plants in their backyard composter as the temperature will not become hot enough to destroy the seeds or hardy roots.
There are exceptions for toxic plants (giant hogweed, Daphne/spurge laurel and devil’s club). These species should not be disposed in the green waste stream to reduce the risk of exposure to staff at the facilities. These plants should be bagged and treated as garbage.
For practitioners and commercial customers, there are additional recommendations for disposing invasive species and toxic plants. To reduce the risk of further spread, it is often best to leave the material on site to desiccate rather than transporting it to a disposal facility. If on site disposal is not possible for your situation, the recommendations include a list of disposal facilities. Please consult these best management practices for advice on the prevention and control of priority invasive species.
There many landscape and environmental companies in the Metro Vancouver region that offer invasive plant services. Some companies specialize in challenging invasive plants, such as knotweeds. Your municipality may provide residents with the names of companies that they are using to manage invasive plants on public property.
We do not recommend particular companies, but we have advice on hiring a qualified person/company here. In any case, the nature of invasive species is that they may require persistence and likely multiple rounds of treatment over several years, no matter what species or method is used.
While it may seem that it’s a public service to remove these plants anywhere you find them, you need permission from the landowner to do any work on property that is not your own.
Management of invasive plants on public property can be complex. The techniques used must be species-specific, and some must be managed by professionals. There may be other activities at the site that impact management, for example nesting birds present, safety hazards, or scientific research happening in the area. There may be future plans for staff or contractors to remove the plants.
There is no shortage of sites that do need the support of community members. There are many ways to get involved. Join a local stewardship group to help manage invasive plants in your neighbourhood. Depending where you live, you may be able to get permission from your local government to work on invasive plants in your neighbourhood.
If you have concerns about invasive species in your neighbourhood that do not appear to be managed, there are several ways to report them. Please check out our reporting page here for all the options.
In the Metro Vancouver region, over sixty stewardship groups are actively working on invasive species and other conservation issues! Some host events year-round, although more are active during the growing season from spring until fall. Browse a list of these stewardship groups here - you can view groups by community or download the complete list.
If you are searching for a volunteer opportunity for a group, please contact us and we can help match you to a group or site that can accommodate larger numbers.
The ISCMV hosts stewardship events in a few communities - check out our events page for more details. We occasionally accept individual volunteers to help with other special projects. To inquire about volunteering with us, please contact us.
In BC, landowners are responsible for managing invasive plants on their property. Local governments or non-profit organizations do not provide treatment on private property. If you are a private property owner, it is not necessary to report an invasive plant on your property, since you are responsible. Keep reading for information on what do to. If you are a tenant, please contact your landlord or property manager to report the invasive plant and discuss treatment.
There are many places to get information about how to manage invasive plants you have on your property. This website is a good starting point! There are locally tested and science-based best practices for many high priority invasive species found in Metro Vancouver. These species-specific guides provide the best local information on identification, tracking, management, and disposal.
Some invasive plants may require the work of a professional/contractor. For more information about hiring a company for invasive plant services, please readout the "recommend a contractor" question on this page.
Finally, if you're not sure if you have an invasive plant on your property, we can help! Check out the "what if I don't know the identification" question on this page.