Battle against weeds continues in riparian restoration efforts 0
With the weed season well underway in the Crowsnest Pass, Heather McCubbin, Riparian Restoration Technician is keeping busy removing invasive weeds along the Crowsnest River and its tributaries.
In the last two months Heather has removed weeds along the Crowsnest River (five bags), Lyons Creek in Blairmore (nine bags), Nez Perce Creek in Coleman (11.5 bags), Drum Creek in Hillcrest (seven bags) and Gold Creek in Frank (11.5 bags) for a total of 44 bags in 17 days of weed pulling.
Working with Kim Lutz, Agricultural Fieldman and head of the Crowsnest Pass Agriculture and Environmental Services, the weeds in the Crowsnest are being conquered. The community has been a great help coming out and participating in weed pull events.
To date, the public has had weed pulls in Blairmore where 16 bags were removed, Hillcrest Coal and Coke Park where 13 bags were removed, and in Coleman on Aug. 9.
They are also planning a community planting day sometime in September.
Weeds in the Crowsnest Pass are an ongoing problem decreasing riparian health.
"Riparian areas are the lands adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, where the vegetation and soils are strongly influenced by the presence of water. Although they make up only a small fraction of the land, they are among the most productive and valuable of all landscape types." (Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society - Cows & Fish).
Controlling the number and types of weeds that enter the Pass into riparian areas will help to increase the health of the local watershed. The Crowsnest Pass is a travel corridor for invasive plants as they travel in from British Columbia, Montana and other Alberta municipalities.
Weeds commonly travel in from other areas by way of wind, animals and people both intentionally planting in gardens and unintentionally attached to vehicles, ATV's, boats and sometimes, mixed into hay bales.
McCubbin has done more than just removing weeds in the last three months. From attending training on weeds to keeping our streams healthy, educating about compost, writing brochures on weeds and riparian areas, organizing weed pulls, and educating the public on Mountain Radio Tuesday mornings.
With only three months left of McCubbin's contract as the Crowsnest Pass Riparian Restoration Technician and the weed season almost over, she still has a lot left to accomplish.
As the fall approaches in the upcoming months, Heather will be planting approximately 200 native plants along specific creeks and Crowsnest River locations. This planting will help to stabilize the banks to reduce erosion, provide shade to aquatic invertebrates and other life forms living in or around the water as well as creating competition for invasive plant species.