2024 02 17 - Update
This pilot has been very well received and will continue (which means I have budgeted funds for the work). Thank you for all of your kind words on this one. The program is focused on RDOS-owned properties. RDOS staff are working toward partnerships/permissions for high-impact locations, on MOTI rights of ways, and with partners such as PIB.
Homeowners are responsible for removing invasives on private property. OASISS is an excellent resource. If you have questions on the project, Justin Shuttlework is the RDOS Parks Manager and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: invasives can be chipped. The Greater West Bench will have the chipper come through after the May Long Weekend 2024. More details to come.
Mariposa Park February, 2024. I think over 60 saplings and trees have been removed in Mariposa alone.
2024 02 12 | Herald | Invasive species plucked from West Bench
2024 02 11 | Western News | Invasive trees being removed from West Bench Park
2024 02 11 | Castanet | South Okanagan-Similkameen invasive trees targets of pilot eradication program
2023 12 21 | Global | Regional District targeting invasive tree species in Penticton
2023 12 20
Over the summer, I asked the RDOS Parks Department to pilot an invasive tree removal program on RDOS-owned land in Greater West Bench. If the pilot proves successful, the goal is to expand the work, continue to partner where we can (Ministry of Transportation, for example), and address the invasive tree issue. If we want citizens to remove private property invasives, the RDOS should lead by example.
FireSmarting in any community depends on homeowners applying the program principles to their properties. The RDOS should be doing the same on RDOS-owned land. Brittany Seibert, RDOS Interim Manager - Emergency Services, will look at regional funding opportunities (taxes and grants) and balance what will be the most effective way to reduce community risk in the region.
For Area F, the more firesmarted properties, the better our communities will fare during the next wildfire. The RDOS will host another free chipping service this spring. For more information on FireSmart, visit or contact Kerry Riess the RDOS FireSmart Coordinator. email@example.com or 250-490-4392.
Third, the Mariposa Park renovation project will begin this spring. I've asked that Water Wise principles be applied. As you likely know, BC is experiencing severe drought. We will see water restrictions again this summer. Those restrictions should also apply to RDOS land.
Back to invasive species, you may have seen some work in the area over the past few weeks. Below is the information release. OASISS is an excellent resource if you'd like more info on what is invasive.
Before and after images of Moorpark and Mariposa. Thank you, Justin (Parks Manager at RDOS) and your team! Outstanding work!
Cheers and thanks for reading,
REGIONAL DISTRICT OF OKANAGAN-SIMILKAMEEN INFORMATION RELEASE
December 8, 2023
RDOS launches pilot project to remove invasive tree species
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is taking steps to remove invasive tree species from several locations in Greater West Bench (Electoral Area “F”) as part of a new pilot project. With input and collaboration from several partners, including OASISS (Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society), and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), RDOS staff are addressing long-standing issues related to invasive plants and trees.
The program is targeting the removal and treatment of three species of invasive trees that are proliferating in the Okanagan Valley, choking out natural vegetation and ecosystems.
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.hydrology of a system.
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.
Residents in the Greater West Bench area may see crews and equipment working in RDOS properties and along roadways. “This collaborative project provides several benefits, including regrowth of natural vegetation, clearing sight lines at intersections, and reducing conflict from overhead utilities,” said Riley Gettens, Electoral Area “F” Director.
The invasive species pilot project will be reviewed and RDOS staff will explore opportunities to expand the program in future years.
• Reduction of invasive trees
• Re-establish natural vegetation
For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-490-4114.
Mark Pendergraft, Chair
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
Riley Gettens, Electoral Area “F” Director
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
RDOS Manager of Parks & Facilities