Elena Rardon photo                                 Brett Davies stands beside a pile of recently-cut scotch broom at the end of Roger Street on Sunday.

Elena Rardon photo Brett Davies stands beside a pile of recently-cut scotch broom at the end of Roger Street on Sunday.

Broom busting season begins in Alberni Valley

Starfleet members begin their annual campaign to target scotch broom

A volunteer group started an annual campaign this weekend to battle an alien invader taking over the Pacific Northwest.

Members of Starfleet Alberni Deep Space Port began cutting back the outgrowth of scotch broom infesting the bulldozed land at the top of Roger Street, just past North Island College.

Gillian Shearwater, Starfleet president, says she wants to encourage other community members to organize their own cuts, coordinating with the city based on their recommendations for most-needed cuts. Those who are interested can contact the Parks and Horticulture department, who will arrange disposal of the plant.

“Dry, dead broom is even more of a fire hazard than the living broom,” Shearwater pointed out.

This is the fourth year that the all-volunteer group has battled the invasive species. Previously, they took on a long-term project by de-brooming the SPCA grounds.

“It’s really satisfying,” said Shearwater. “A lot of people think they can’t make a difference, but once you put your mind to it, it’s really amazing.”

It took two years for the Starfleet members to de-broom the SPCA grounds, and the difference now has altered the landscape. Working with seven members over eight hours over this weekend, they managed to make a significant dent to broom at the end of Roger Street.

“With brooming, you can just keep plugging along,” said Shearwater.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to de-brooming is safety. Shearwater emphasized the importance of wearing eye protection, leather gloves, closed-toe boots and long sleeves.

For more information about how to cut broom, you can check out the BroomBusters website at broombusters.org.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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