Volunteers wage war against Scotch broom in Mill Hill Regional Park. The battle continues this month but more volunteers are needed to clear the invasive species.

Join the battle to reclaim Mill Hill

New recruits are needed for the yearly battle against the invasive Scotch broom of Mill Hill Regional Park.

New recruits are needed for the yearly battle against the invasive Scotch broom of Mill Hill Regional Park.

It may sound violent, but all that is really required is some fit volunteers willing to put in a little elbow grease to help restore the Garry oak ecosystem.

The goal of the project, which has a 12-year overall timeline, is to help native species of plants once again flourish in what is a unique area. The park is home to 13 species of native plants in about 180 locations.

“What’s most significant is not only the number of species, but how concentrated their populations are,” said Marilyn Fuchs, environmental conservation specialist for the Capital Regional District. “It makes Mill Hill among the most important sites for rare plants in the whole province.”

Threatening this biodiversity are broom and other invasive plants that flourish and push out native species.

This year the group will re-treat areas that were tackled in the past. Scotch broom is difficult to fully eradicate, due to its proficiency at seeding and re-sprouting.

“You have to keep at it so you can deplete that seed bank,” Fuchs said.

The project has a staff component and a volunteer component and the CRD is looking for individuals or groups to help out. The dates for organized broom removal this year are Oct. 5 and Oct. 19, both Saturdays, but groups of volunteers are welcome to call and book other dates to lend a hand.

Fuchs said the volunteer days are well organized and always fun.

“It’s a lovely way to spend a day or part of a day,” she said. “There’s a nice feeling of camaraderie among everybody working on the hill, and it’s a beautiful site.”

 

The work is physically demanding to a degree, and includes a short hike to the work spots. Beyond that though, all are welcome, young and old. Anyone interested must pre-register at 250-360-3329 or go to crd.bc.ca/parks.