Trail students help improve habitat at Beaver Creek Park – Rossland News

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A team of JL Crowe students have partnered with local habitat groups to rid Beaver Creek Provincial Park of invasive species.

The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS), Kootenay Native Plant Society (KNPS), BC Parks, and the Invasive Species Council’s Stronger BC Action Team have rallied Crowe students to help plant over 75 native species and sowing seeds at a restoration site in Beaver Creek Provincial Park.

The goal of the project is to create a community of healthy native plants that would benefit local native wildlife and pollinators.

This is the fourth consecutive year that CKISS has improved the park’s wildlife habitat. Over the years, the organization has coordinated several community native weeding and planting events that engage volunteers and students in field restoration activities within their community.

In the spring of 2021, nearly 40 students from Crowe traveled to Beaver Creek Park to participate in a river assessment excursion. One of the stations the students rotated through was a weeding station hosted by CKISS. Using hand tools, students learned how to manually identify and remove invasive plants such as spotted knapweed, ash alyssum, and green sorrel.

“Our many volunteers and students have had a positive impact on the park,” Laurie Frankcom, CKISS program coordinator, said in a statement. “Invasive plants lack predators and can supplant native plant populations for space and resources. This can reduce plant diversity and negatively impact native pollinators and wildlife habitat. Any extra help in removing invasive plants is appreciated as manual processing is labor intensive. “

The second step was to plant native shrubs and spread native seeds. CKISS consulted with the KNPS to select suitable plants and seeds for the site that can support a wide range of native pollinators and species at risk such as the Western Skink, North American Racer, and Boa northern rubber.

These reptiles are found naturally in Beaver Creek, but their numbers are declining. The plants and seeds were grown locally by Nelson-based Kinseed Ecologies, a group specializing in ecological gardening and native plant seeds.

In late October, the team planted a wide range of native species including: Oregon grape, bald rose, Idaho fescue, blue wheatgrass, buckwheat in parsnip flowers, hollyhock, false orange, Nootka rose, black raspberry, snowberry, orange tick seed, blueberries, purple meadows, mountain sneezes and boreal aster.

The native seeds that were widespread at the site were needle and thread grass, porcupine grass, golden aster, silver leaf phacelia, and common camas.

According to KNPS, common camas occur naturally in the park, but the population is struggling due to the warmer and drier conditions. Camas common is both an ecological and culturally important plant in the interior of British Columbia. The plant is now a rare find but was a staple food for many native groups.

“This restoration was really a team effort,” Frandcom said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of BC Parks, students, teachers and our fantastic KNPS partners. In addition, the advisory service, the KNPS also generously donated topsoil, a variety of native plants and seeds, and ran an educational station for JL Crowe students on common camas.

When visiting Beaver Creek Park, CKISS wants the public to be on the lookout for the little orange flags that have been placed by each new native species. Organizations are asking you to bypass these flags and not to disturb them. Flags have an important function.

They are used for plant survival surveys that will guide future park restoration activities and plans. CKISS hopes to secure additional funding to continue the restoration of Beaver Creek Provincial Park in 2022.

For more information, email Laurie Frankcom at lfrankcom@ckiss.ca.

Town of TrailJL Crowe High School

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