Josie Osborne, Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, and Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, issued the following joint statement during Invasive Species Action Month:
“As British Columbians, we value all of the province’s rich and diverse marine and wildlife habitats, and recognize that invasive species pose a major threat to our natural ecosystems and infrastructure. We rely on resilient terrestrial and aquatic habitats, free of invasive species, for food, livelihoods, cultural purposes and much more.
“Our government is working through the Interdepartmental Invasive Species Task Force, which includes the departments of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture and Food, to protect British Columbia’s ecosystems and wildlife from the threats of invasive species.
“This work includes conducting more than 200,000 boat inspections since 2015 as part of the Invasive Mussel Advocacy Program, monitoring lakes and raising public awareness of the threat of invasive mussels.
“We follow best practices from jurisdictions across North America for feral hog management. Breeding populations have not been identified in British Columbia and isolated occurrences are being dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We recognize the environmental and socio-economic threats to this species. Using aerial and ground surveys, we survey areas with historical and recent reports of pigs.
“We also monitor populations of annual invasive grass species, such as cheat grass, which increase wildfire risk and affect recovery efforts.
“Invasive species are one of the top five threats to biodiversity loss and, if not managed effectively, can affect the well-being of our communities and economies. That’s why we share a collective responsibility in our efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species. So in May, the eighth annual month of action against invasive species, we remind British Columbians to be vigilant in finding and reporting invasive species when boating or exploring the outdoors.
“Over the years, many thousands of volunteers have worked tirelessly across the province to eradicate invasive plants, such as Scotch broom and English ivy, and vigilantly report invasive animals and insects, from the Asian giant hornet to the european green crab. Their actions go a long way in protecting native plant and animal life in British Columbia.
“We acknowledge the efforts of local governments, First Nations communities, the Invasive Species Council of BC and other organizations undertaking invasive species awareness and management activities across the province.
“Together, we will continue to manage our natural resources responsibly and promote a StrongerBC for all British Columbians and our ecosystems.