Invasives Education: Yellow Flag Iris Removal Workparty

The Wetlands Team had a busy weekend! On Saturday June 10th we were at Cheam Lake Wetlands Park bright and early to begin preparations for a long day of Yellow Flag Iris removal and native species planting. With the help of some hardworking volunteers, and a group of nature-loving kids, we were able to take down approximately  8000 ft² of the invasive species that is overtaking the park!

Yellow Flag Iris is an unfortunately beautiful flower that has spread from home gardens to wetlands across the Lower Mainland and Southern BC. The plant creates thick vegetative mats that restrict sediment movement, remove habitat for aquatic organisms, and out compete native vegetation such as broad-leaved cattail. As the prolific species continues to dominate the park, it is clear that something must be done to save our wetlands. This day was in support of Catherine Tarasoff of AgroWest Consulting and Thompson Rivers University, who is conducting research on new methods for controlling Yellow Flag Iris. Catherine and her team are continuing to work on refining the “pond liner method”: by covering the cut rhizomes, they are unable to grow back due to lack of gas exchange. Essentially they “poison” themselves. The liners are then removed and replanted with native species.

This is an extensive project, and we greatly appreciate all the volunteers who were determined to finish the sites. To our surprise this day attracted more children than adults! While adults placed liner and did some of the heavy lifting,  inquisitive and enthusiastic kids helped plant 750 cattail and bulrush plugs to prevent previously-treated areas from being reconquered by Yellow Flag. The new growth represents a brighter future for the park , as the kids represent a new hope for tackling invasive species in the future. Education is critical when controlling invasive species; we hope our volunteers (whether young or not) take the knowledge and first-hand experience of the introduction, proliferation, and damage an invasive species can cause and carry that with them into their communities.

Thank you again to all volunteers! As this is an ongoing project, we will likely be assisting Catherine again in the near future. If you are interested in volunteering with Yellow Flag Iris removal, please follow our Wetlands Education Program for updates and new events.


WK Cheam Lake Partners



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