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Posted: May 8, 2022

We must remain vigilant with invasive species

Letter to the Editor

As British Columbians, we all value the province’s rich, diverse wildlife and marine habitats, and recognize that invasive species are a major threat to our natural ecosystems and infrastructure. We rely on resilient land and water habitats, free from invasive species, for food, livelihoods, cultural purposes and much more.

Our government works through the Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group, which includes the ministries of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture and Food, to keep B.C.’s ecosystems and wildlife safe from the threats of invasive species.

This work includes conducting more than 200,000 watercraft inspections since 2015 through the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, monitoring lakes and educating the public about the threat of invasive mussels.

We follow best practices from jurisdictions throughout North America for feral pig management. Breeding populations have not been identified in B.C. and isolated occurrences are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We recognize the environmental and socioeconomic threats from this species. Using aerial and ground surveys, we investigate areas with historic and recent reports of pigs.

We also monitor populations of annual invasive grass species, such as cheatgrass, which increase wildfire risk and affect recovery efforts.

Invasive species are one of five main threats to declines in biodiversity, and if not effectively managed, can affect the well-being of our communities and economies. That is why we share a collective responsibility in our efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species. So, in May, during the eighth annual Invasive Species Action Month, we remind British Columbians to be vigilant in checking for and reporting invasive species when boating or exploring the outdoors.

Over the years, many thousands of volunteers have worked tirelessly throughout the province to remove invasive plants, such as Scotch broom and English ivy, and vigilantly reported invasive animals and insects, from the Asian giant hornet to the European green crab. Their actions go a long way to protect native plant and animal life in B.C.

We recognize the efforts of local governments, First Nations communities, the Invasive Species Council of BC and other organizations that undertake invasive species awareness and management activities throughout the province.

Together, we will continue to responsibly manage our natural resources and promote a StrongerBC for all British Columbians and our ecosystems.

Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, and

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests

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