Derek Robinson (foreground) and Erwin Allerdings

Broom bashing makes impact on Bear Mtn.

Residents pitch in to stem spread of invasive species, open up area for wildlife, native plants

On a steep hillside on one edge of the Skyline Park strata, roughly halfway up Bear Mountain Parkway in Langford, thousands of brilliant yellow flowers form a beautiful carpet for arbutus trees looming above.

That beauty, however, is in the eye of the not-so-educated beholder. The flowers are a sign that Scotch broom, the nemesis for native plant species on Vancouver Island, is well established here, as it is in countless wild places around the West Shore.

Skyline Park resident Erwin Allerdings moved here in 2008. In 2009 he began assembling his neighbours for semi-regular broom pulls, in which the virile plants are cut down at ground level to prevent their further spread in the designated ecological reserve areas surrounding their homes.

“Broom and blackberries are the most pervasive and aggressive of the invasive species,” said the retired agrologist and former professional forester, who’s had plenty of experience dealing with unwanted plant species.

“They can really choke out some of the (native) species.”

Both broom and blackberries sprout abundant greenery and, as they grow, produce thick stalks. Both aspects can leave native flowering plant species – not to mention the odd Douglas fir seedlings found in the rare gaps – fighting a losing battle for light, air and space.

Allerdings says the residents try to do a sweep of the wild spaces behind their homes, a practise that barely gets completed in one season before the invasive plant growth begins anew on the opposite side of the cul-de-sac.

The result of the clearing is evident in the presence of animal species on the slopes, he adds. “Once we clear it, deer tend to be in those areas,” he says. “It’s a draw for the birds and particularly for the deer.”

Of course, with more deer in the area it also can mean more cougar sightings, and the occasional bear.

Early one recent Saturday, Allerdings and next-door neighbour Derek Robinson were busy carving their way through a broom patch, awaiting more neighbours to join the effort. A row of long-armed lopping tools and a pair of Swede saws stood at the foot of the hillside, waiting to be picked up by volunteers. People come out when they can, usually at their leisure, Allerdings says. This particular slope is steep enough to prevent some of the older members of the community from tackling it, he notes.

They’d ideally like to partner on invasive species projects with the Bear Mountain Community Association. Such a partnership is a natural, Allerdings says, “especially now with the trail systems getting in place.”

From the City of Langford’s perspective, the community’s help is much appreciated when it comes to removing and controlling invasive species within its bounds.

“We’re really thankful when communities or groups come forward and assist; we encourage that,” says Mike Leskiw, Langford’s director of parks and recreation.

Allerdings says the city makes it a lot easier for volunteers, as they only ask that the piles of organic debris be gathered in an area where a city-dispatched crew can get to it and collect it for disposal.

For more information on how to assist in removing invasive species, contact the City of Langford parks department at 250-478-7882.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Saanich Inlet bridge billion-dollar price tag too expensive says ministry

Malahat alternatives not practical from engineering, budget standpoint

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Shamrocks home opener tonight

Victoria opens play against Burnaby at 7:30 p.m., tailgate party starts at 5

Vehicle crosses into median and flips on Pat Bay Hwy

The vehicle landed upside down in oncoming lanes of traffic on the McKenzie overpass

WATCH: Final thoughts before the 75th Swiftsure Yacht Race

Nautical stories and racing strategies of some of the 200 crews heading out to sea Saturday

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Most Read