FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 20, 2015 - Richmond, BC: Delegates from across British Columbia are gathering this week in Richmond to discuss ways to prevent, detect and manage invasive species that affect BC’s economy, environment and society. The 10th anniversary forum, INVASIVES 2015, features workshops, discussions, learning sessions, and updates on what groups around the province are doing to target invasive species.
“INVASIVES 2015 provides an opportunity for people to learn from other jurisdictions, to discuss ways to move forward collaboratively, and to plan future actions to tackle invasive species in British Columbia,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “This year marks the 10th anniversary of organized action province-wide on invasive species, so it’s also an opportunity to celebrate British Columbia’s leaders in the field.”
Representatives from federal, provincial and municipal authorities, along with regional invasive species committees, community organizations, and industry groups are meeting to learn about developments in the field, best practices from across North America, and to celebrate achievements to date. The forum features a keynote address by Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks. Other sessions include presentations on work being done in Europe, Mexico, and collaborations across North America. There are also sessions on aquatic invasives and impacts for agricultural industries and resource industries.
A highlight of this year’s forum is the gala dinner attended by BC’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). At the gala, the first Together In Action Awards will be presented, recognizing initiatives, groups, and individuals that demonstrate leadership, innovation and collaboration in the field of invasive species.
Damages and economic losses caused by aquatic and terrestrial invasive species worldwide are estimated at more than $1.4 trillion – nearly five per cent of the global economy. Forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and the recreation and tourism industries are some of the most heavily impacted, with millions in lost revenue each year. In British Columbia, just six invasive plants caused an estimated combined damage of at least $65 million in 2008. With further spread, impacts will more than double to $139 million by 2020. Compared to other threats to biodiversity, invasive introduced species rank second only to habitat destruction, and are a greater threat to native biodiversity than pollution, harvest, and disease combined. Aggressive populations of invasive fish, mussels, and aquatic plants degrade water quantity and quality, and cause declines in native species populations in both marine and freshwater areas.
About the Invasive Species Council of BC
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social, and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca.
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P: (250) 305-9161