The Milfoil Planning Committee’s 2016 budget proposal was accepted for inclusion in upcoming budget talks at the Dec. 4 board meeting.
But the motion was not unanimous. Area D director Rene Talbot was adamant in his opposition to what amounts to a 20-per cent increase in funding.
Hamish Kassa, environmental service co-ordinator for the regional district, advised the milfoil planning committee that two aquatic plant rototillers and harvesters are being used in the fight against milfoil in Shuswap and Mara lakes.
In 2014, the harvester operated 22 days treating approximately 29 hectares and harvested 33 tons of milfoil. The rototiller operated 54 days treating an area of 28 hectares.
The milfoil committee meets only once a year, providing statistics on the previous year rather than the current one. The numbers for 2015 have not yet been tallied. But Kassa did tell directors that the growth of milfoil did increase this year.
“Milfoil in the Shuswap increased in 2015 due to a mild winter, low snowpack, reduced freshet, increased water clarity, warm, sunny weather and low lake levels, which provided an enhanced growing environment,” Kassa said.
The proposed budget for 2016 includes the provision to operate two harvesters full time and two rototillers full time during the season.
“The capital budget allocation of $40,000 is proposed for the purchase of a pickup truck for the second machine operator’s use,” read the minutes of the Nov. 5 meeting.
Following clarification by Kassa, committee members endorsed a motion to take the issue to the Dec. 4 board meeting for consideration.
“I will not support this, it’s a 20 per cent increase for a new vehicle and another employee,” Talbot said. “Just for one item, I am opposed and I would like it noted.”
Directors also discussed a motion to write to the newly elected federal minister of environment regarding new federal aquatic species regulations and the need for sufficient funding to make sure invasive species do not get a toehold in B.C. While most directors supported writing the letter, the matter was deferred as they wanted more specific details on what is needed and who will fund it.