The Government of British Columbia has provided $300,000 over three years to Dr. Lauchlan Fraser’s research team to help manage invasive species in the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands near Merritt, BC.
This grant was part of a $861,500 announcement made this week by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The grants are part of a multi-year funding program that will see more than $7.7 million distributed provincewide to 34 regional invasive species organizations, local governments, environmental groups and researchers, as well as the Invasive Species Council of BC, which is chaired by Dr. Brian Heise, Associate Professor in Natural Resource Management.
Dr. Fraser will work on a variety of projects within the grasslands alongside a team of TRU-faculty researchers and graduate students. Not only will his team be running various research trials on the site, they’ll be providing signage so that hikers can better understand the aim of the research, and why it’s so important.
“The students will be looking at different soil amendments and various seed mixes, and we’ll be running a cattle grazing trial using targeting grazing practices to try to control invasive plants, specifically spotted knapweed” Fraser explained.
Spotted knapweed has inundated BC’s grasslands. Identified by its attractive purple blossoms, spotted knapweed changes the chemistry of the soil, releasing a toxic chemical that makes the soil inhospitable to other plants, thereby reducing biodiversity.
“Our environment is affected by a number of different stressors, including climate change and invasive species. There is a link between invasive plant species having a dramatic effect on local ecosystems, and it’s important to understand, control and reduce those effects, and we can only effectively do that with controlled, manipulated studies with proper research design,” Fraser said.
The Invasive Plant Projects in the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands also includes Drs. Wendy Gardner, Tom Pypker, Lyn Baldwin, Catherine Tarasoff, John Church and David Hill, along with collaborators from the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the Nicola Valley Community Roundtable, Chutter Ranch, the BC Cattlemen’s Association, and the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC.
Dr. Lauchlan Fraser, Professor