2023 Spring Forum & AGM

May 17, 2023

2023 Spring Forum & AGM photo

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, 1:30-3:30pm, we held our ISCMV Spring Forum & AGM. The event was held at the beautiful, newly built Port Coquitlam Community Centre. 41 individuals gathered, from across Metro Vancouver, representing environmental non-profits, city governments, businesses, and post-secondary institutions.

ISCMV Executive Director, Tasha Murray, welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave a short summary of the important work that ISCMV has been doing (since 2006) as a non-profit. This work includes: answering questions, connecting people, training staff, planning stewardship projects/events, and more!

ISCMV new Operations Coordinator, Jillian Stewart, then introduced the first guest speaker, Tracy Hueppelsheuser, Entomologist with the Plant and Animal Health Branch of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Tracy outlined the spotted lanternfly stages of growth, from an egg mass to a fully formed adult, with its distinctive bright red spotted wings. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that can cause plant dieback and plant death, particularly for grape and fruit trees. This invader has not yet been detected in Canada, but it is rapidly spreading from the East coast of the United States. Tracy noted that the spotted lanternfly also feeds on the tree of heaven, an invasive tree common in interior B.C., and present in coastal B.C. Tracy advised us to watch to see how the spotted lanternfly spreads in 2023. It is truly an invasive species to be on the lookout for!

Tasha Murray then introduced the second guest speaker, Jocelyn Herbert, Natural Areas Technician with the City of Surrey. Jocelyn presented a comparison of English holly management methods in Redwood Park, Surrey. Jocelyn has been involved with studying the effectiveness of three different management methods for English holly: stem cut, stem cut + herbicide application on the stump, herbicide injection in the stem, and a control group. A year after applying each method, Jocelyn found no statistically significant difference between the methods and the number of sprout deaths. With stem injection, there was an overall decrease in plant health and crown dieback, as compared to the control. However, no injected trees died after one year. Jocelyn theorized that the methods may need a longer study period to show full effect and that the type of herbicide available in Canada may have influenced results. 

Tasha Murray then led the portion of the Spring Forum dedicated to the ISCMV Annual Meeting, along with Vice Chair, Ken Crosby. After approving the 2022 AGM minutes, Tasha presented the ISCMV Year-in-review. Our Annual Report is available here, for those who wish to read the full document. Tasha acknowledged the amazing support of our 51 partners, 19 funding partners, and the network of invasive species committees across the province. Some highlights of ISCMV operational activities include: surveying 248 sites, treating 130 sites, and organizing 29 stewardship events. In terms of outreach and education, ISCMV addressed 390 inquiries, delivered 96 programs, and created 89 social media posts. ISCMV also created 3 new regional best practice guides & factsheets. After sharing a draft balance sheet and budget for 2023-2024, Tasha presented a special resolution to repeal and replace the constitution, in preparation for ISCMV becoming a registered charity. The 32 present voting members approved this resolution. After recognizing the important contribution of the board of directors (including outgoing board members Hélène Marcoux & Gywn Taylor) & staff, Director Lisa Dreves presented the nominees, Brian Campbell, Kim Houghton, Laurie Bates-Frymel, and Paul Cipywinyk, for 2023-2026 board of directors. The directors were elected through acclimation. 

Following a break, where participants had an opportunity to network over coffee, Nanaimo bars, fruit, and trail mix, Jillian welcomed our third guest speaker, Grace Nombrado, ISCMV Communication Coordinator and President of Free the Fern Stewardship Society.  Grace presented how invasive plants can be transformed into eco-art. She shared 4 eco-art projects, including: ivy baskets, charcoal pencils, handmade paper, and bird nesting cages. Grace outlined the materials and methods needed to create each type of eco-art. She acknowledged the importance of partnering with other eco-artists in the community. 

Then Jillian welcomed our fourth guest speaker, Melanie Apps, prospective graduate of the Restoration of Natural Systems program at the University of Victoria. Melanie presented on the Glenbrook Ravine Restoration Project, which was started in 2017 by Kyle Routledge. Melanie now leads the project, organizing 4 blackberry shrub removal events and one fall planting event per year. Melanie described the stewardship site, the progress with blackberry removal, and the types of native species planted. To reduce the effect of soil erosion, in 2022 volunteers successfully installed Willow stakes in the Glenbrook ravine. In addition, Melanie led a full site survey in 2022, digging soil pits and counting native plants (with the support of BCIT students). She concluded by outlining an ambitious 10-year plan and budget for the Glenbrook Ravine stewardship project. 

Jillian then introduced our final speaker, David R. Clements, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences with Trinity Western University. David gave an engaging presentation on how bohemian knotweed has spread in the Chilliwack-Vedder River, following the November 2021 floods. After introducing the invasive plant and possible control methods, David shared how knotweed can rapidly spread on watersheds. Bohemian knotweed is well adapted to survive in water, with features like: larger seed wings for floating, high germination rates regardless of current, and an ability to survive as a seedling for up to 51.4 days fully immersed in water. After the 2021 floods, knotweed was able to rapidly disperse along the Chilliwack-Vedder River, leading to a 5-fold increase in new knotweed sprouts. David, with support of his research students, will continue to study the spread of knotweed along the river and its tributaries. 

Thank you to our presenters and attendees at the ISCMV 2023 Spring Forum & AGM. Please check out our event page to view all presentations from the event.  We look forward to seeing many of you at future ISCMV forums and field tours.

Photo credit: Paul Cipywnyk