Invasive plants replaced

Grade 4/5 students from Okanagan Landing Elementary school gave Mother Nature a hand while learning about the local eco system.

The students spent Thursday afternoon planting native species along a portion of shoreline on the north end of Okanagan Lake Thursday.

Members of the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) removed approximately 400 kilograms of yellow flag iris from Lakeshore Park in late August. The area is being replanted with native species including red-osier dogwood, sandbar willow, mountain alder, rose and snowberry.

Despite its attractiveness, yellow flag iris is extremely problematic. It alters water flow, competes with native plants, and impacts fish habitat as well as bird nesting and rearing areas.

“While the invasive iris is already established in many riparian locations in the Okanagan, it has the potential to expand its range significantly as a consequence of climate change and by continued planting by residents that are not aware of its invasive qualities,” said Lisa Scott, OASISS program manager.

The Vernon location is one of three sites in the Okanagan Valley identified by OASISS as warranting attention. The City of Vernon is partnering on the project and expressed concern about established infestations of invasive plants such as yellow flag iris that impact their parks and natural areas.

“We believe that municipalities need to be active participants in projects that help to create more resilient natural systems in light of a changing climate,” states Kendra Kryszak, Parks Planner with the City of Vernon.  

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