Volunteers with the Elk River Alliance take part in a weedpull to clear invasive species from the Elk Valley. (Photo submitted)

Volunteers with the Elk River Alliance take part in a weedpull to clear invasive species from the Elk Valley. (Photo submitted)

Elk River Alliance encourages volunteers to ‘bring their own bubble’ and help clear invasive species from Elk Valley

Invasive species haven’t taken a break due to the pandemic, and the Elk River Alliance hasn’t either.

The Elk River Alliance (ERA) is forging ahead with its weedpulling agenda despite the challenges of 2020 and social distancing.

By encouraging prospective volunteers to “BYOB” or “bring your own bubble”, efforts to remove noxious weeds from around the Elk River have continued.

According to Beth Millions, executive director of the ERA, the way it works is small groups of people (such as households or groups of close friends) can reach out to the ERA for information on where to go to volunteer, and the ERA will do the rest. Just be ready for some physical work.

“We’ll bring supplies, snacks, and information, and then we’ll pull weeds for an hour or two,” said Millions.

“It’s actually quite fun, and we can accommodate your group’s needs this way! We are also hosting our shoreline cleanup in much the same way, so anyone who is interested in cleaning up a section of shoreline is encouraged to get in touch.”

Millions said that it was important to preserve the natural beuaty of the Elk Valley by holding invasive species at bay.

“Invasive species are transported, usually by humans, into environments where they have not evolved and therefore don’t have natural predators or competitors to keep their populations in check. As a result, they are able to take over and outcompete native species, reduce biodiversity, and degrade the natural ecology,” she said.

“This year we have a few target areas, and recently were focusing on the put in and take out locations for the raft run on the Elk River. These are high traffic areas, so people may inadvertently move seeds with them and bring them to the river, where they can degrade the shore and disperse downstream. We also have some areas around Fernie that we would like to target as well as they are near valued water bodies.”

Prospective volunteers (with their own bubbles) are encouraged to reach out to the ERA by contacting Beth Millions to coordinate. beth@elkriveralliance.ca

READ MORE: ERA seeks to enhance local wetlands