The Okanagan's Most Wanted
Two Partners in Crime
What are invasive species? How do they come to be? What impacts do they come to be?
The Eurasian Watermilfoil was imported from Europe in the early 1800's and was first recorded in North America in the early 1800's as well. They first were recorded here in the Okanagan in 1970. Here in the Okanagan, it has spread to 80 lakes, ponds and rivers. People also say that it got here in the Okanagan because the Eurasian Watermilfoil was once a popular aquarium plant and may have arrived when they dumped unwanted aquarium into the wild. It ecological impacts the ecosystem because it has the ability to out compete with and replace native plant communties, reducing overall biological diversity and reducing water quality. The Myriophyllum spicatum can clog a whole entire lake!! It starts growing at 10 meters and will continue growing. One day, the whole Okanagan Lake can be clogged up with this plant. Unfortunately they seems to easily reproduce by spreading seeds, rhizomes, buds and stem fragmentation. They spread from lake to lake by being stuck underneath boats and in boat motors, stuck in diving gear and getting caught in it, stuck in water skis and caught underneath tubes.
Eastern Grey Squirrel
There have been 5 recents sightings here in Kelowna, including myself as I had an Eastern Grey Squirrels living in my own backyard! It has been identified as living in Kelowna and West Kelowna, however it is now being reported of sightings as far down as Pentiction and Oliver. Eastern Grey Squirrels are orignally from New York and the East Coast and were imported to West Coast of Canada. They are a danger to the ecosystem as they strip bark from young oak trees, they cut out the embryonic roots from acorn and this prevents germination, they feed on lily bulbs which are native here and particularly dangerous to the fragile Garry Oak ecosystems. They also prey on nesting birds, bird eggs and nestlings. They are more aggressive then the native Okanagan squirrels and seemingly these Eastern Grey Squirrels are 'pushing' our native squirrels out of their native region. This species has spread like wildfire. In fact it has been reported that in 1914, a New York man released 8 squirrels into Stanley Park- in Vancouver, BC. Yet another way they invaded our region is when wildlife rehabilitators have help spread them by trapping them and releasing them into a new habitat. They reproduce like any other squirrel.
Preventing the Eurasian Watermilfoil
Preventing the Eastern Grey Squirrel