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

Someone bought a lottery ticket worth $4.2 million in Aldergrove (file)
Lottery ticket worth $4.2 million purchased in Aldergrove

Lotto 6/49 numbers were drawn Saturday

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Dale Nordal photographed a frosty scene in late 2020. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Frosty vista of Mount Baker by Langley City man

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, the Township approved a rainbow crosswalk between the school district and RCMP buildings in Murrayville, but did not earmark funds for the project. (Langley Advance Times file)
Out On Patrol police group backs rainbow crosswalk in Langley

Urges supporters to donate to cover cost of $12,000 crossing near main RCMP detachment

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

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

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read