A group of volunteers led by the Port Moody Rotary Club (PMRC) rid a local park of some unwelcome intruders on Saturday.
A total of 25 volunteers, which included people from InnerVisions Recovery Society, pulled the invaders from the ground at Shoreline Park and hauled them away in paper bags, before sitting down to lunch.
The unfortunate culprits were not people, but invasive plant species in B.C.
“It was beautiful on Saturday and we pulled 72 large bags of mostly English Ivy from Shoreline Park,” said Cleone Todgham, Environmental Director of the PMRC, in a rotary website post. “Thanks everyone!”
The effort was part of the PMRC’s RIPS program to help clean up invasive plants, which has been running for over a decade in partnership with the City of Port Moody and the Noons Creek Hatchery.
English Ivy is often used to cover walls and buildings, and ground cover for commercial landscape.
The vine grows rapidly (and continues to grow in winter), needs little water or light, and often suppresses and kills other native vegetation, according to the Invasive Species Council of BC.
The Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver says that if left unchecked, the plant will form thick mats that cover the forest floor, prevent other seedlings from growing, debilitate trees and can even damage infrastructure.
Todgham said there is a toxin in English Ivy that repels animals from eating it.
“It can also strangle a tree. It reduces biodiversity and it takes away from the natural aesthetics of nature,” she said. “It’s a big problem.”
While ripping out the vines, the volunteers even unearthed what appears to be the cement foundation of an old structure along the trails.
The program primarily targets Shoreline Park, but has also done some pulling in Bert Flinn.
Todgham said it takes years of repeated efforts to fully clear an area of the invasive vine.
She said this is the first time they’ve conducted the cleanup in spring; it usually takes place in October, and this is the last time they’d be able to rip vines before ground-nesting birds start to lay eggs.
While there are other invasive species, English Ivy is the most pervasive, Todgham said.
“We can spend years on the Shoreline Park alone,” she said. “There’s plenty of work to do with the ivy.”
One of the challenges is that the vine is still widely used and sold, according to Todgham.
She said it would be beneficial to have a form of bylaw, or to work with flower distributors, to reduce its prevalence in the environment, but added it’s a slow process.
“People should not buy baskets with English Ivy,” Todgham said. “Education is a big component.”
The City of Port Moody thanked the volunteers for their efforts on social media.
Additional photos of the endeavor can be found on PMRC’s website.
By Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 28, 2023