The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is removing invasive tree species from several locations in Greater West Bench as part of a new pilot project.
On Thursday, Feb. 8, RDOS crews worked with contractors using a crane to remove four large trees using at Mariposa Park. The trees were cut and lifted from their location to avoid damage to an adjacent tennis court.
More than 60 invasive trees have now been removed from Mariposa Park.
“This is an important pilot project targeting the removal and treatment of three species of invasive trees that are proliferating in the Okanagan valley,” said Riley Gettens, Electoral Area “F” Director. “The invasive trees are choking out natural vegetation and ecosystems in the region.”
This collaborative project provides several benefits, including regrowth of natural vegetation, clearing sight lines at intersections, and reducing conflict from overhead utilities. With input and collaboration from several partners, including OASISS (Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society), and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RDOS staff are addressing long-standing issues related to invasive plants and trees.
The three types are trees removed are:
Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)
· These fast growing trees quickly overtake native vegetation, especially shade-intolerant species, reducing forage for livestock and wildlife.
Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
· A major problem in the Pacific Northwest, invading riparian woodlands and threatening large, hardy native trees such as cottonwoods. It can form dense stands that alter vegetation structure.
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
· Competes with native vegetation and reportedly produces toxins that prevent the establishment of other species. The root system is aggressive enough to cause damage to sewers and foundations.
The invasive species pilot project will be reviewed and RDOS staff will explore opportunities to expand the program in future years.