In her capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett was in Williams Lake Friday to proclaim Invasive Species Action Month in the province of B.C.
“Several ministries are working on this together with different events to raise awareness,” Barnett said. “There is environmental and economic damage that invasive plants and animals can cause if they become established in British Columbia.”
Barnett met with Gail Wallin, the executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., at the Scout Island boat launch to make the proclamation.
After the proclamation, Wallin presented Barnett with a hot-off-the press poster that encourages people not to let aquatic pets loose in waterways.
“We will have fridge magnets coming next week,” Wallin said.
People can learn more about non-native plants and animals that can damage the province’s ecosystems by downloading the free “Report-a-Weed” app for iPhones or Android smartphones.
Its easy-to-use interface allows users to submit reports on invasive plant sightings anywhere in B.C., upload photos of suspicious plants they find and also view previously recorded sightings: http://www.reportaweedbc.ca/
At the end of March the government expanded its response to the potential introduction of invasive zebra and quagga mussels with a $1.3-million program focused on early detection and rapid response.
Although live specimens of these mussels have never been detected in B.C., this program will boost protection for B.C.’s waterways with: three mobile boat decontamination units, six specially trained auxiliary conservation officers, 24 new highway signs to be prominently displayed at key entry points to B.C., and increased monitoring for zebra and quagga mussels.
The ability to report suspected invasive mussels to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline.
There will also be enhanced public education and outreach activities for the “Clean Drain Dry” boat-cleaning protocol.
“The proclamation of Invasive Species Action Month is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about invasive species and the damage they can do,” Barnett said.
“I encourage British Columbians to get involved by reviewing the Clean, Drain, Dry procedures and by trying the Report-A-Weed app.”