SHARP and SNaP teamed up to remove invasive plant species from Blackie Spit last weekend.

SHARP and SNaP teamed up to remove invasive plant species from Blackie Spit last weekend.

Partnership benefits Blackie Spit

Two youth environmental programs join forces for invasive plant removal

Blackie Spit was freed of invasive plants last weekend after a four-hour habitat restoration attracted dozens of people to the Crescent Beach park.

The July 10 public event was co-hosted by Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) and Surrey’s Natural Areas Partnership (SNAP), who were assisted by about seven volunteers from the community.

“Blackie Spit is a very common invasive site that we work from,” SHaRP spokesperson Jordon Davis said. “We usually do it every summer.”

Using shovels and their hands, participants completely removed spartina, sweet clover and knapweed, before moving on to tansy.

“Overall it was a successful day,” Davis said. “We got most of the invasives removed.”

The removal is necessary because invasive plants inhibit native plants’ ability to grow and flourish, Davis added.

Spartina (a cordgrass) forms massive stands that decrease habitat for shoreline birds, waterfowl, shellfish and fish, while sweet clover (a weedy plant) degrades native grasslands by outgrowing and shading native sun-loving species.

“Invasive species are known to overcrowd native species and so with removing these invasive species, we’re able to increase plant diversity on the Spit,” Davis said. “Native plants are important to help inhabit wildlife as well as marine life.”

Beach visitors can do their part by being aware of invasive species, and by lending a hand during removal efforts, Davis added.

Both SHaRP and SNAP host restoration events as part of their mandate to restore natural areas in Surrey and promote environmental stewardship and sustainability.

The youth environmental programs are part of the City of Surrey’s Nature Matters initiative, and employ post-secondary and high school students through the summer months.

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