Areas slated for herbicide application to control invasive cordgrass.

Areas slated for herbicide application to control invasive cordgrass.

Herbicide use okayed against cordgrass in tidal zones

Invasive weed found in Boundary Bay can turn marine mudflats into turf, damaging aquatic habitat

The province will spray herbicides for the first time to control cordgrass, an invasive weed that’s taken root in tidal areas of Boundary Bay and Roberts Bank.

The work begins Aug. 19 and is limited to infestations on cobble beaches, salt marshes and intertidal mudflats, with follow-up spraying set for September.

Environment ministry officials say cordgrass can turn coastal mudflats into large patches or solid stands of dense grass, with severe habitat loss for shorebirds, waterfowl, shellfish and fish while increasing the risk of flooding due to sediment accumulation and altered drainage.

Various groups and municipalities are partners with the province in cordgrass control efforts. No submissions opposing the recently approved pesticide use permit were received during a five-month public review.

More cordgrass infestations along Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver and near Port Moody may be treated in 2014 or 2015.