Volunteers with the Ladner Rotary Club are out again this summer continuing the war against an invasive noxious weed.
Don Burkett and several other service club members have been out in Boundary Bay armed with shovels in an attempt to eradicate spartina anglica from the area.
The weed, a species of cordgrass, was introduced in the British Isles as a means of erosion control.
It's considered noxious because it is so pervasive and as it spreads it has the ability to take over native plants and smother natural eco-systems, such as the inter-tidal area in Boundary Bay.
The plant's dense root system binds the soil and the tall grass increases silt deposits, making it effective in erosion control, however, as the weed takes over an area it prevents birds and other natural species from feeding.
Essentially it has the potential to convert a wetland into a dry land and make the area inhospitable to salmon and other invertebrate.
The noxious weed is monitored by Delta staff and the B.C. Spartina Working Group, a consortium of conservation organizations and government agencies that now includes the Ladner Rotary Club.
Spartina plants are identified, flagged and then removed by volunteers or staff.
Despite efforts to remove as many plants as possible, the weed is spreading, said Burkett.
Last year, around 2,00 plants were identified and removed. This year, 9,600 plants have been flagged. Burkett said the total number of spartina plants in the area is probably closer to 15,000 as more are discovered during the removal process.
The dramatic increase in plants is most likely due to a large number of seeds getting blown across the shoreline.
"I look at this as a bit of a battleground," Burkett said.
Burkett and his team of 15 or so volunteers are out two to four times a week digging up spartina; he is always looking for more willing volunteers.
So far this season, the team has cleared the shore area between 104th and 72nd streets and plans to move toward 64th Street next.
Residents that spot what they suspect is spartina, or those that want to volunteer to help with removal efforts, are encouraged to contact Delta's office of climate action and environment at 604-946-3253 or via e-mail at cae@corp. delta.bc.ca.
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