Volunteers at work in 2018 pulling out blackberries in the West Creek Wetlands. A war against invasive blackberries in north east Langley is now in it’s sixth year (File)

Volunteers at work in 2018 pulling out blackberries in the West Creek Wetlands. A war against invasive blackberries in north east Langley is now in it’s sixth year (File)

A six-year war: battle against blackberries in Langley

Volunteers tackle invasive plants

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, Lisa Dreves at the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) was sorting through heavy-duty leather gloves for volunteers, getting ready to renew hostilities with a stubborn invader that has engulfed tracts of land in northeast Langley.

It is the sixth year of the fight by the Glen Valley Watersheds Society (GVWS) against invasive blackberry bushes, a hand-on war that requires protection from the sharp thorns that adorn the unwelcome visitors.

Dreves, the stewardship coordinator at LEPS, will be leading the charge every two weeks on Tuesdays until December 15, 2020, escorting small groups of volunteers to the 163-acre West Creek Wetlands near 72nd Avenue and 264th Street to spend a few hours from 10 a.m. to noon tearing out the fast-growing bushes.

It’s been a drawn-out battle but progress is being made, Dreves said.

“You can see the difference it makes.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Battling invasive blackberries in Langley

While it’s hard, sometimes damp work, it easily meets COVID-19 safety requirements, she noted.

“It’s a big space with plenty of room to spread out, Dreves said.

This year, a new front has been opened up in the blackberry battle, a recently-acquired Township property near Nathan Creek at 80th Avenue and 272 Street, the Gatzen homestead.

Volunteers will be heading there every other Monday from 10 a.m. to noon to free up fruit trees from the unwelcome embrace of the fast-growing blackberries.

READ ALSO: Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society looking for new members to help protect Aldergrove waterway

The Himalayan blackberry is a stubborn, fast-growing Eurasian biennial plant that was introduced to Canada in the mid 1880s. It was valued for its fruit, larger and sweeter than other varieties, but it soon escaped into the wild, where it quickly got out of control, with birds and other animals eating the fruit and then spreading the seeds.

Currently seen in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, central to southern Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, the Okanagan, and the West Kootenay areas, the plants displace native varieties and can create erosion and flood risks by overthrowing deep-rooted plants.

One blackberry can contain up to 80 seeds.

The Langley campaign is operating under COVID-19 rules of engagement, where participants will be required to provide a full name and phone number in case contact tracing is required.

Sanitized tools and clean gloves will be provided, but people are free to bring their own own gear, however no power tools are allowed.

To join the battle, contact Dreves at stewardship@leps.bc.ca for dates and to RSVP for events.

You can also join up by going to meetup.com and search for the “Blackberry Bash.”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusEnvironmentLangley Advance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley RCMP has twice issued fines to Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
No action on tax penalty for churches defying COVID orders in Langley Township

Council heard that such a move would be legal, but couldn’t be retroactive

Nancy More has been a brewmaster for more than 30 years and has a scholarship award named after her. (Joshua Peter Grafstein/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
New award to help post-secondary students named for Langley brewmaster

Kwantlen Polytechnic University brewing student first recipient of Nancy More Award

Sources Community Resource Society received $70,777 from SurreyCares Community Foundation in July. From left: Denise Darrell, executive director of Women, Seniors & Community Services of Sources; David Young, chief executive officer of Sources; Christine Buttkus, executive director of SurreyCares; and Linda Annis, director with SurreyCares. (Submitted photo: SurreyCares)
Sources Community Resource Society received $70,777 from SurreyCares Community Foundation in July. From left: Denise Darrell, executive director of Women, Seniors & Community Services of Sources; David Young, chief executive officer of Sources; Christine Buttkus, executive director of SurreyCares; and Linda Annis, director with SurreyCares. (Submitted photo: SurreyCares)
Langley agencies share more than $100,000 in COVID-related grants

Money will allow adding staff and expanding services during the pandemic

Some of the fake gold sold by con artists in B.C. RCMP said there have been reports of the scam in Richmond, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley and New Westminster from Jan. 17 through Jan. 22 (RCMP)
‘Dubai gold’ scam is back in Langley and the Lower Mainland

If someone offers to sell gold jewelry at a bargain, it’s probably fake, police warn

Jack Nicholson (left) presented a cheque in 2020 for the Co-op Community Spaces Grants for local community projects across Western Canada/ (Sean Weatherly/Special to The Star)
Co-op Community Spaces is investing $1 million to fund community projects

Non-profits and registered charities can apply between Feb. 1 and March 1 for funding opportunities

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Most Read