BC Government uses herbicides to control cordgrasses, a first in Canada


Being on the BC Government’s mailing list for press releases and media bulletins, I receive a lot of information about the identities of car accident victims and drownings and a smattering of other dreary news that they’re obligated to send out. It’s certainly not the most “awesome” of news (I actually asked once if they could filter it for me and only deliver positive stories, and they can’t just yet), but I figured now would be as good a time as any to remind you to BE SAFE IN AND AROUND THE WATER THIS SUMMER! It seems like I get a release about a drowning every other day and it’s not something that always makes the news but it’s something that happens far too often. Way more often than you think.

So anyway, I received an interesting notice today from the government letting me know that they’re going to be spraying one of my favourite spots, Boundary Bay (above, which we’ve done a number of BLOG POSTS about), for an invasive plant species. The herbicides “Habitat and Rodeo and the surfactant Ag-Surf II will be applied by handheld, backpack and/or hand pump sprayers starting Aug. 19” and will be targeting patches of invasive cordgrass named Spartina spp that have popped up in the area. These species can convert coastal mudflats into large patches or solid stands of dense grass. This type of growth results in severe habitat loss for shorebirds, waterfowl, shellfish and fish, and can increase the risk of flooding due to the accumulation of sediments and changes to drainage patterns. That’s bad. The fact that they’re doing this? I’m pretty sure that’s good to ensure the habitat of this area my family’s been enjoying for some time now, and I imagine yours too.

Photo: Laurin Thompson

This is actually the first time in history that registered herbicides have been used to control cordgrasses in Canada. The government noted that the same herbicide combination has been used successfully in Washington State to reduce cordgrass infestations in the same type of aquatic habitat.

It doesn’t look like this schedule of treatment will affect our access to fly kites at this sweet public park, but you can find more information on the treatment areas etc HERE