Ontario has developed a plan to combat invasive species in order to protect the province’s environment and its economy.
The Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan outlines the province’s approach to the prevention, early detection, and rapid response to new invasive species and the effective management of existing invasive species like round goby, zebra mussels, and the emerald ash borer.
Several ministries will work together under the plan to ensure threats to the province’s biodiversity and its economy are dealt with as effectively as possible.
The government also has committed to renew its partnership with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to promote greater public awareness of invasive species through education and outreach—a major goal in the plan.
“Ontario’s rich biodiversity supports multiple industries like tourism, forestry, and recreational and commercial fishing,” noted Natural Resources minister Michael Gravelle.
“Invasive species are a real threat to Ontario’s economic and ecological well-being,” he stressed.
“This plan paves the way for important partners like the [O.F.A.H.] and the Invasive Species Centre to fight this threat together,” he added.
“We have been fortunate to partner with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for 20 years, successfully engaging millions of Ontarians annually in invasive species awareness and prevention,” said Angelo Lombardo, executive director of the O.F.A.H.
“We look forward to building on the momentum we have gained through this partnership as we continue the delivery of Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program into the future,” he added.
“The plan serves as an excellent framework for all of us in the invasive species network to focus on priorities, and work collaboratively in response to the serious ecological and socio-economic threats that invasive species represent,” echoed Robert Lambe, executive director of the Invasive Species Centre.
“The Invasive Species Centre is eager to work with the Ontario government, and our broad network of partners and stakeholders, to deliver on key priorities,” he noted.
Invasive species are those that come from other countries or regions, and threaten the environment, economy, or society by disrupting local ecosystems.
They are the second-greatest threat to Ontario’s biodiversity after habitat loss.
Zebra mussels cost the province $75-$91 million per year due to economic losses in recreational and commercial fishing and boating, damages to infrastructure, and other complications resulting from the associated algae growth.
Garlic mustard was brought over from Europe as an edible herb. It has since spread throughout southern Ontario and out-competes native wildflowers such as the trillium, the provincial flower.
Round gobies, a fish species, are aggressive feeders and steal eggs from nesting smallmouth bass.