The B.C. government is investing another $12 million to assist with the detection and removal of invasive species, as part of its economic recovery plan to support jobs and help communities cope with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In British Columbia, we're working to protect our natural environment on a number of fronts,” said Premier John Horgan. “This funding will not only help to control damaging species not native to the province, it will also create jobs for local communities.”
The provincial economic recovery plan, StrongerBC, provides employment and economic opportunities to support a wide range of projects throughout the province. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is responsible for economic recovery programs worth more than $100 million. The new invasive species funding is one component of that overall recovery strategy.
“Invasive plants and animals can disrupt habitat, displace native species and negatively impact our environment and the economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This new investment will provide training and skill development opportunities to support invasive species detection and control efforts by the Invasive Species Council of BC and other partners throughout the province.”
Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, said: “Our StrongerBC economic recovery plan is designed to help get people back to work, while supporting businesses and helping communities in every region of the province. This invasive species program is not only a job creator in our smaller communities, it bolsters our existing efforts to tackle harmful invasive species to protect B.C.’s lands, lakes, rivers and streams.”
The $12 million in funding will provide training and job opportunities to support the detection of new invasive species incursions, control priority invasive species throughout the province and help increase public awareness and reporting of invasive species sightings. Of that $12 million:
- $8 million will go to the Invasive Species Council of BC to provide expanded training and outreach opportunities, and to collaborate with land managers, local governments, Indigenous communities and others to detect and remove invasive species throughout B.C. over the next 15 months.
- $3 million will be provided to established invasive species management partnerships with Indigenous groups, regional invasive species organizations, local governments and others, delivered through the ministry’s ongoing funding program.
- The new funding has also provided $1 million to support planning and expanded invasive species control efforts by the following B.C. government ministries:
- Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
- Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
- Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
“It is exciting to have today’s announcement to create much-needed training opportunities and new jobs for people in these challenging times,” said David Bennett, chair, Invasive Species Council of BC. “Developing new jobs that will help protect our environment from invasive species will greatly benefit Indigenous and rural communities throughout the province.”
The B.C. government, the Invasive Species Council of BC, local governments, First Nations and national and community-based organizations work co-operatively year-round to prevent the spread of invasive species, promote effective management practices and encourage public reporting of invasive species.
- Invasive species are plants, animals (including insects) and fungi not native to B.C. or are present outside of their natural distribution area. They can spread rapidly, outcompete or feed on native species, dominate natural and managed areas, and alter ecosystems. Some invasive species are toxic to people, pets, livestock and wildlife.
- The B.C. government manages high-priority invasive species (through the work of staff and contractors) and provides ongoing financial assistance to support the work of invasive species organizations to contain and control invasive species throughout B.C.
- The B.C. government’s invasive species programs identify sites where new invasive species have been found and responds quickly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.
- Members of the public can report sightings of invasive plant species anywhere in B.C. by calling 1 888 WEEDSBC (1 888 933-3722) or using the Report Invasives BC smartphone app: http://www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species
Stronger BC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
B.C. Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/invasive-species/imiswg
Invasive Species Council of BC: https://bcinvasives.ca/
Invasive Species Strategy for British Columbia 2018-2022: https://bcinvasives.ca/documents/Invasive_Species_Strategy_for_BC-2018-180117-WEB.pdf