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Expired · 26th August 2009
Comox Valley Naturalist Soc.
Comox Valley Naturalists Society
Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards Project to control knotweed using goats.


The regular monthly meeting of the Comox Valley Naturalists Society will be held September 20, 2009, at 7:00 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtenay. The featured speakers will be the noted Comox Valley environmentalist, Ronna-Rae Leonard, and local biologist Lora Tryon. They will discuss the management of invasive plants with special emphasis on knotweeds, and the use of goats for control of this invasive.
Eight years ago the Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards developed a comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. One of the goals is to restore and maintain the abundance of diversity of indigenous plant and animal species in the watershed. So, it is not surprising that when the Stewards noticed the early spread of alien and extremely invasive Japanese, Giant and Himalayan knotweed plants in the Comox Valley, they became determined to gain control of this growing threat to the health of the watershed. They have undertaken a number of knotweed-focused initiatives over the past four years, and last year developed a trial to use goats to control a patch of Giant knotweed.
The stewards undertook the project in partnership with the Comox Valley Farmers’ Institute, the 4H Gumbooters, and a local goat farmer. The project also benefited from a host of expert advisors, including provincial staff from the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Forests and Range, and Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, as well as help from Dr. Annie Booth, a researcher in Prince George, who gained renown with her goat project.
It was implemented, in part, as an activity of the Agri-Food Futures Fund, which is supported by a variety of federal and provincial government agricultural programs. Financial backing for this project was also provided by the province of British Columbia, through the Direct Access Program of the BC Gaming Commission, grants-in-aid from Areas A, B, and C of the Regional District. The City of Courtenay supports the trial to target a Giant knotweed patch on city-owned land at Malcolm Morrison Senior Park and has provided fencing materials.
A second season of using the foraging goats to control the knotweed is now nearing completion. The project is exploring the use of goats to control knotweed. The goats have helped to focus public attention on knotweed’s destructive nature and the 4H Club’s participation has been an invaluable part of the public education agenda. The project is also investigating the complex regulatory changes necessary in order to gain control over the plant, and also highlighting the constructive role that agriculture can play in an environmentally-friendly program to ensure species preservation and a strong, diverse environment.
Short Biography of Presenter, Ronna-Rae Leonard
Ronna-Rae Leonard, has 26 years experience in administration and management for non-profit societies, and has worked with the Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards for the past five years. She specializes in policy research & development and educational outreach. Her activism began with maintaining Still Creek as an open water course through an industrial area in East Vancouver in the 1980’s, and continues today. She has worked on a wide range of issues, including water conservation, wastewater and stormwater management, and has been involved in participatory action research and land use planning. She is now is responsible for the development and management of the goat project.

Short Biography of Co-Presenter, Lora Tryon, RPBio
Lora Tryon, Registered Professional Biologist, received a B.Sc. Degree from Malaspina University-College in Nanaimo, BC in 2000, and has written numerous technical reports for private and public clients, and for the MPWS. She has done extensive research on knotweed for the Stewards, and has networked with many other researchers on the subject. She has spearheaded two capacity-building knotweed meetings, bringing together people with knowledge and interest in finding real solutions to combat this invasive plant.
Meetings of the Comox Valley Naturalists Society are held on the third Sunday of most months at the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton, Courtenay. Meetings are open to the public, including youth. A donation of $2.00 is suggested for non-members, and new memberships are always welcomed. Meetings are not held in December, July, and August. The CVNS October presentation will be: Oct. 18, 2009, “Restoration of the Courtenay Estuary by Dave Davies, the November 22 meeting will feature “Outdoor Canoe Adventures” by Laurel Archer.
Please come out and join us for these important environmental topics. For more information on CVNS please visit the website at www.comoxvalleynaturalist.bc.ca.