Several Creston Valley forest services roads will soon be free of knapweed, thanks to the efforts of two students hired by the Creston Valley Forest Corporation.
Sonja Seher, from Victoria, and Crestonite Kelsey Syfchuk, both studying environmental planning at Selkirk College in Castlegar, are in the middle of a 10-day project to pull knapweed in problem areas.
Knapweed is one of 15 plants identified as invasive by the Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committee (www.kootenayweeds.com).
“The main reason you have such a rampant knapweed problem is you have people and logging trucks spreading it,” said forest manager Daniel Gratton.
“There’s a lot of quad traffic,” added Seher. “With any vehicle, it gets caught in the undercarriage.”
By the end of last week, Seher and Syfchuk had cleared the sides of a 3.5 kilometre stretch of the Goat Mountain Forest Service Road, collecting 440 kilograms of knapweed in the process.
The plants, which eventually grow bright purple flowers, are being dug up, roots and all, before they have a chance to go to seed.
“The seeds persist in ground for two or three years,” said Seher.
The Columbia Basin Trust funding to hire the students is greatly appreciated by the community forest corporation.
“It’s in the management plan for the community forest,” said Gratton. “Also, environmentally it makes sense. There are other invasive plants, but that’s the most common.”