FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Feb. 2, 2016—RICHMOND, BC—Federal, provincial, municipal, and First Nations representatives, along with regional invasive species committees, community organizations, and industry groups from across British Columbia are gathering this week in Richmond to discuss ways to prevent, control and manage invasive species that affect BC’s economy, environment and society. The 11th annual forum, INVASIVES 2016, features workshops, discussions, learning sessions, and updates on what groups around the province and in other jurisdictions are doing to target invasive species.
“This annual forum is an important time for those working to control and prevent invasive species to collaborate, learn from each other and other experts, and plan future actions to tackle invasive species in British Columbia,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “Delegates from across North America are joining together for important work sessions, keynote presentations, workshops, networking and learning sessions to help us become better informed about how to prevent invasive species from damaging BC’s ecology, environment and economy.”
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. The cost of invasive species to Canada is between $16.6 billion and $34.5 billion per 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.
This year’s forum features a keynote presentation on dealing with change; a session on using dogs and drones to identity or detect invasive species; a session on preventing the release of pets into the wild; a discussion linking species at risk with invasives; a presentation to learn from Ontario’s ground-breaking Invasive Species Act; and a workshop about what species are on our borders or have just landed.
“This is a crucial time for invasive species management in British Columbia, as we work with legislators, industry and community groups to find solutions to urgent problems,” says Wallin. “We face some immediate threats that require quick intervention, like the spread of invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed, invasive creatures like European Fire Ants and aquatic invasive species like Zebra Mussels. Direct, collaborative and quick actions are needed to keep these invasives from causing extreme damage to BC’s environment and our economy.”
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