The Okanogan's Most Unwanted:

The Yellow Flag Iris and Chukar Partridge

Partners in distruction

The two invasive species, the Yellow Flag Iris and Chukar Partridge, have been invading the Okanogan for many years and it's time that they should be put to a stop in their misbehavior. An invasive species is a species that has negative effects to the environment or doesn't belong in the ecosystem. Invasive species usually come to an ecosystem as an accident to foreign places or form of appealing decor in similar habitats where they originated. Invasive species are dangerous to ecosystems because of their tendency to spread quite quickly and to over power native organisms.The Yellow Flag Iris, or the Iris Pseudacorus, came here to the Okanogan as a decorative plant, its bright yellow appeal, for wetlands and ponds. The Chukar Partridge, or the Alectoris Chukar, spread from Kamloops to the North-Western Okanogan as hunting game in the early 1950's.
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The Yellow Flag Iris (Iris Pseudacorus)

Physical Description:

  • Three large bright yellow petals with purple to brown markings and a rounded, drooping edge
  • Three small bright yellow petals with an erected and pointed tip
  • Medium green leaves clasped at the stem pointed upward
  • Medium green straight stem
  • Averagely 1.5 meters in height
  • Bloomed from April-July
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The Chukar Partridge (Alectoris Chukar)

Physical Description:

  • Averagely 38cm long
  • Wingspan averagely 43cm long
  • Grey crown
  • Black ribbon across eyes and down neckline
  • Grey/brown back, chest, belly and tail
  • Orange tipped tail
  • White and black stripes under wings
  • Pink to red beak, legs and feet
  • White face
  • Black to dark brown eyes

Back Story

Both the Yellow Flag Iris and Chukar Partridge have been under estimate as a species here in the Okanogan. Over the past two years, there have been no reported sightings of the Partridge, but it is well established to the government that they are indeed an invasive species. Although the Chukar Partridge is an invasive species, what they do negatively to the environment is unknown. Since the Chukar Partridge is obviously a bird, they can spread easily because they lay eggs in batches from four to eight. The Yellow Flag Iris however, have no sighting reported anywhere in BC. Unfortunately, the Yellow Flag Iris have huge impacts on the Okanogan's environment. The Iris overpowers Cat tails, sedges, and rushes that are used for various types of nesting for birds. Their roots block irrigation canals, reduce water storage in wetlands, and block out flood control ditches. The Chukar Partridge fist arrived to BC in the 1940's. In the 1950's, the Partridge spread into the Okanogan valley as hunting game and used to train dogs for tracking down other game. The birds first arrived in North America from a product shipment from India to Illinois. Overtime, birds migrated and spread to the Canadian border, all the way to BC. The Yellow Flag Iris came into BC because of the popularity toward the way it appealed to the human eye; caused by the bright yellow petals. The notice of this plant spread as easily as the plant itself, and because of sales, this invasive species is held in planting nurseries, which really amplified that spread. The Iris is used for decoration purposes in wetlands. the flow of water in wetlands is very settle, and the seeds float and plant themselves on the first brush of of land they feel, which causes major issues for the amount of Irises that grow in the area they are planted.

Stopping Crime

Stopping or killing invasive species can be hard, especially because some of the Organisms are poisonous and can make you sick. Usually reporting the sightings of invasive species can be easier if you don't have the equipment you need to get rid of the organism. It takes five minutes to report an invasive species online, you just need to remember or tag the location you saw the invasive species. If you are prepared with gloves or anything you may take action, but later on report the sighting online just to be sure other people know about it. Getting rid of the Yellow Flag Iris is sketchy because the liquid inside the flower and stem could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation; wearing gloves is key to destroying the plant. The first step is clipping off and disposing of the flower so there is no further seed disposal. The second step, if the plant is small, is to just pull out the stem and roots from the ground. If the plant id large, you need a pick ax or shovel to soften the soil. When the plant is removed, you need to let the plant dry out in the sun for forty-eight hours, then it can be used for compost. stopping the spread of the Chukar Partridge however, is much more complex. The most you can do to save the environment as a civilian is to simply report your sighting and let the BC counsel deal with the animal.
The chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar)

The Chukar Partridge at it's Finest