Invasive Species Program
The Okanagan And Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) has been actively participating in prevention, detection and management of invasive plants in the Okanagan-Similkameen since 1996 (this group was formerly referred to as the South Okanagan-Similkameen Invasive Plant Society). Efforts have targeted provincially and regionally noxious species listed under the BC Weed Control Act, and other aggressive invasive plants. In 2012, society members opted to change the constitution to encompass invasive species, and subsequently changed the name of the society. OASISS addresses invasive species and their pathways of spread by prioritizing management areas and species through multi-stakeholder cooperative coordination. The Society is also actively involved in public education and outreach initiatives and community stewardship programs that involve on-the-ground action. The role of OASISS is to encourage and facilitate agency coordination, prioritize management activities, coordinate/evaluate on-the-ground treatment and to provide public information programs for invasive species management. Prevention and education are considered priority management activities.
What are Invasive Plants?
Invasive plants are typically non-native plants or "weeds" that have been introduced to British Columbia without the insect predators and plant pathogens that help keep them in check in their native habitats. Without their natural enemies, these invaders are able to rapidly outcompete native plants, ornamental species and agricultural crops. The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has classified some of the most harmful invasive plants as "noxious weeds".
Everyone's Problem! Invasive plants negatively impact our local environment and economy by:
- reducing the agricultural productivity of our cropland and rangeland;
- lowering real estate values;
- endangering our health and well-being;
- dramatically damaging some of the region's unique scenic values and tourism opportunities;
- reducing water quality and fish habitat;
- altering the composition and structure of native plant communities; and
- destroying valuable wildlife habitat.
"Exotic species are the second largest threat to biodiversity on the planet"
(World Conservation Union 1998)