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Invasion of the Iris: Shuswap invasive species project ongoing

Shuswap wetland areas targeted in Yellow Flag Iris removal project
A Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society staff member and volunteer deadhead Yellow Flag Iris on Little White Lake in June 2022. (Contributed)

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) continued with a multi-year battle against infestations of the invasive Yellow Flag Iris plant this summer.

Native to Europe, North Africa and Mediterranean regions, this plant poses a significant threat to wetland ecosystems within the Shuswap Watershed area and is a high priority invasive species.

Yellow flag iris reproduces quickly, forming dense patches and preventing wildlife from reaching shore.

Native plants like rushes and cattails that offer nesting habitats for animals such as ducks and Western Painted Turtles are replaced by the overpowering Yellow Flag Iris.

The plant’s floating seeds are easily dislodged and float further around the water’s edge, quickly growing new populations and making removal difficult.

The CSISS has teamed up with many other organizations for this collaborative effort, including the White Lake Stewards, Invasive Species Council of BC, Shuswap Trail Alliance, BC Parks, and other volunteers.

Yellow Flag Iris has impacted White Lake, Turner Creek, McGuire Lake, Gardom Lake and Little White Lake wetland ecosystems, and the initiative is to educate the public and to inventory and treat the plant infestation.

Several tactics have been used to try and eradicate the plant, including deadheading, digging out the root, and installing benthic barriers, which are made of a non-permeable material that suppresses plant regrowth.

This year, CSISS used iPads and a mapping system to create detailed site inventories for Yellow Flag Iris around the Shuswap wetland areas, and 0.0884 hectares of infestation were identified. Using a number of methods and with teams made up of CSISS staff, the Shuswap Trail Alliance, ISCBC Stronger BC Action Team and volunteers, 0.0724 hectares were treated.

Continued monitoring and community engagement will be key parts of the efforts in years to come.

Please report sightings of Yellow Flag Iris in new areas to the CSISS at 1-855-785-9333 or

More information about invasive species can be found at

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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