We need to stop invasive weeds

It was great to see Brenda Kossowan’s story on the tall buttercup in Saturday’s Advocate. Unfortunately this exotic weed is a threat to more than livestock.

It was great to see Brenda Kossowan’s story on the tall buttercup in Saturday’s Advocate.

Unfortunately this exotic weed is a threat to more than livestock. Tall buttercup has been invading Alberta’s foothills for several years and it’s a common sight on backcountry trails. This is a plant pest that follows people into the remotest places and it’s degrading some of our most productive wildlife habitat.

I have a photo taken this July of a mountain meadow in Whitehorse Wildland Park, near Cadomin. This is a provincial protected area, intended to preserve natural landscapes and biodiversity, but the meadow is overrun with tall buttercup likely introduced by contaminated horse feed.

Unfortunately, this spot is not unusual either in the Whitehorse Wildland or the Fiddle Valley in Jasper National Park immediately to the west. The weed is also found in numerous road ditches, campsites, and trail heads up and down the forestry trunk road.

Private landowners can reclaim their infested pastures with chemicals and range management techniques, counties might take care of the roadside ditches, but who is going to defend the rest of our West Country?

This year’s crop of tall buttercup has already gone to seed. If readers want to make a difference next year, they can learn more about recognizing, managing and preventing tall buttercup from the Alberta Invasive Plants Council web site: http://www.invasiveplants.ab.ca/Downloads/FS-TallButtercup.pdf

Tony Blake

Red Deer