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GreenView: Statements On Re-Introduction Of Invasive Species Act

Contributed by admin on Nov 05, 2014 - 02:50 PM
Picture 0 for Statements On Re-Introduction Of Invasive Species Act

Includes Statements from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters; Ontario Invasive Plant Council; Invasive Species Centre

OFAH Applauds New Invasive Species Act

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) congratulates the provincial government on the re-introduction of the Invasive Species Act and its commitment to combat invasive species in Ontario.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) announced this morning that it would be re-introducing the legislation, which was originally introduced in February but was a casualty of the provincial election.
The act is intended to provide a framework to prevent, detect, eradicate, and manage invasive species that impact the natural environment or economy and can have a detrimental effect on our valuable fish and wildlife populations.
The OFAH is home to the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) and works in partnership with the MNRF to provide a program of public education and information on invasive species. The ISAP works to promote early detection of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, with the aim of preventing the introduction and spread of these species into sensitive ecosystems.
"I am pleased the Ontario government has re-introduced the Invasive Species Act, a positive step in the fight against invasive species," OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo said. "The sale, movement and importation of invasive species in Ontario are serious concerns. This legislation will provide the minister with the much needed tools to immediately react when a new species or threat is identified."
If passed, the legislation would make Ontario the first and only jurisdiction in Canada with standalone invasive species legislation. It would give the MNRF more comprehensive inspection powers to determine compliance with the law, introduce a suite of enforcement provisions and penalties and give inspectors the right to take samples and prohibit movement that may result in the spread of invasive species.
"Invasive species have already impacted our lakes and woodlands, and the potential long term economic impact is staggering," explains ISAP coordinator Matt Smith. "The cost of not addressing this threat to our environment and the economy can be measured in the billions of dollars."
Ontario's Invasive Species Strategic Plan recognizes that stakeholders such as the OFAH have a key role to play in the management of invasive species and we are pleased to partner with the Ontario government on this important initiative.
For more information go to www.ofah.org or www.invadingspecies.com. With 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers, and 720 member clubs across Ontario, the OFAH is the VOICE of anglers and hunters and Ontario's largest and oldest fish and wildlife conservation organization. Visit us on Facebook (ofah.org/facebook) and follow us on Twitter (@OFAH).

The Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) Supports Re-introduction of Invasive Species Act

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Ontario Invasive Plant Council is pleased to support the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry upon the re-introduction of the Invasive Species Act.
"Invasive species, their impact and removal costs, detract from Ontario's economy to the tune of millions of dollars each year", said Iola Price, President of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. "Recreational trail managers and users find the paths impeded by overgrowths of the invasive shrubs Glossy Buckthorn and Common Buckthorn and by the invasive Dog-strangling Vine. Staff and volunteers spend countless hours and resources to ensure public access to our natural areas. Forest managers must also expend resources to free forests and forestry plantations from of Dog-strangling Vine and Garlic Mustard - both of which can cause extensive ecological and economic damage. And public health authorities are well aware of the problems caused by skin exposure to Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip" she noted.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council looks forward to working with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff as the legislation and regulations move through the House over the coming year.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council, founded in 2007, provides a coordinated response to the growing threat of invasive plants in Ontario. The OIPC is a multi-sector, non-profit organization made up of representatives from Conservation Authorities, academic institutions, First Nations, private consultants, industry and environmental nongovernment organizations, as well as all levels of government. The Council is committed to collaborative efforts between organizations and citizens in order to more timely and effectively respond to invasive plants.
For more information, visit our website www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca.

Invasive Species Centre Applauds Ontario for Reintroducing Invasive Species Legislation

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Invasive Species Centre commends the Government of Ontario for reintroducing much-needed legislation that will help to prevent introduction and slow the spread of invasive species in the province.
The proposed Invasive Species Act, reintroduced in the provincial legislature on November 5, 2014, will help to priorize those invasive species that pose the highest risk to Ontario's environment and economy, provide new regulations and penalties to help deter the introduction and spread of these species, and help to bring down silos that get in the way of stakeholders working together efficiently and effectively. Once passed, this legislation will give Ontario new tools and authority to ban activities such as possessing and transporting certain high risk invasive species. It will put mechanisms in place to support preventative measures and address urgent threats.
"Ontario is showing tremendous leadership with this new legislation, and is the only jurisdiction in Canada to propose such a comprehensive package of tools to proactively address invasive species," said Dilhari Fernando, Executive Director, Invasive Species Centre. "Invasive species threaten Canada's environment by altering natural spaces and endangering the species that are native to our regions. Imagine a Canada where fall colours are a thing of the past or where we can no longer take our families canoeing or fishing in our lakes and rivers. This could be our reality if we don't act to address the threats posed by invasive species."
"Invasive species are expensive to manage and cause losses for the forestry, fishing and tourism industries while also chipping away at the urban forests in our cities. Ontario's investment in this legislation will reap savings over time," said Fernando. "Prevention and response have a cost, but it is not as high as managing the economic and environmental fall-out of invasive plants, insects or fish once they become established in landscapes and waterways."
In Canada, there is no single entity that is responsible for invasive species prevention and control. The responsibility is widely shared, and distributed, across all levels of government, not-for-profit groups, volunteer organizations, academia and others. "Invasive species are an invisible threat, meaning that the current level of awareness among Ontarians is quite low. We need to better engage the general public and get them excited about how they can contribute to preventing invasive species," said Fernando. "This legislation will help to build momentum to more fully involve the private sector, students and teachers, and families across Ontario in playing an important part in invasive species control."
Since April 2011, the Invasive Species Centre has invested almost $4.3 million on over 150 projects in natural and applied science, innovation and technology transfer, education and outreach on invasive species. This work forms an important part of Ontario's efforts to prevent the introduction of new invasive species and to proactively manage those species that have established to minimize their negative economic and environmental impacts.
About the Invasive Species Centre:
The Invasive Species Centre is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that connects stakeholders, knowledge and technology to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species that harm Canada's environment, economy and society. The Invasive Species Centre: brings together experts; supports, coordinates and leads projects; and communicates findings and outcomes to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species. Visit our website at www.invasivespeciescentre.ca.
Author: Ontario Federation of Anglers and HuntersOntario Invasive Plant CouncilInvasive Species Centre
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BARRIE—Following Ontario’s best snowmobiling winter in years in 2013, the not-for-profit Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and its member clubs are officially launching the 2014-15 snowmobiling season with Get Ready To Go Snowmobiling Ontario Week, November 24 to 30. The new season celebration starts as club volunteers are hard at work clearing, preparing and signing over 30,000 kilometres of OFSC trails to welcome snowmobilers back.
Although OFSC trails are not available for snowmobiling at this time, early indicators are very positive for a great snowmobile season ahead, with long-range forecasts predicting a cold, snowy winter and many parts of the province already experiencing below zero temperatures and early snowfalls. With the cooperation of Mother Nature, some OFSC trails could be available for limited riding around Christmas so snowmobilers are advised to check the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide for the latest updates at www.ofsc.on.ca.
With 2015 permits already setting new sales records, Get Ready To Go Snowmobiling Ontario Week invites more Ontarians to discover the family fun of organized snowmobiling, plus its many social, health and recreational benefits. Get Ready Week is also the cue for OFSC snowmobilers to start making their Ontario ride plans and preparing their sleds and gear. As well, this special week marks the final days that Seasonal and Classic Snowmobile Trail Permits are available at pre-December 1 savings. Permits can be bought online at www.ofsc.on.ca.
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Farmers care about conserving species at risk

Guelph Mercury
Farmers take it on the chin for what their detractors consider to be unfriendly environmental practices, such as using pesticides on crops and raising livestock in close quarters.
Of course, the reason farmers use modern production methods is to try to keep production up and the price of food down. Despite gains made with local food in helping society recognize the importance of agriculture, the need for farmers to be profitable is still not well understood.
A part of farmers' efforts to maximize production involves using their existing land to the greatest degree possible.
In earlier times, that led to what some farmers would learn later were poor environmental decisions, such as clearing away forests and native habitat on their lands, growing crops on land they weren't suited for, and letting livestock get too close to waterways.
Those times have changed. Farmers recognized they had to get out in front of these practices, or answer to the public, perhaps via the government and imposed legislation. Even though whatever practices they were engaged in were on their own land, they still had a high degree of public accountability.
That led to the development of a variety of tools, including voluntary, peer-reviewed environmental farm plans, as well as an emphasis on sustainability management practices by groups such as the Guelph-based Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
Now, conservation is part of farming's culture. Agriculture has embraced it, as shown by results of a new survey that underlines farmers' environmental mindset.
The survey, answered by 250 Ontario farmers, centred around producers' attitudes towards species at risk, including wildlife such as the bobolink which likes to nest in farmers' hayfields.
For example, more than half of the respondents said they would feel "lucky," "proud" or "pleased" to actually find species at risk on their property.
And over 60 per cent of the respondents say they want to protect species at risk.
That runs counter to the perception that some farmers would ignore these species if they found them on their property, because it might interrupt or interfere with critically timed production, especially around planting or harvest.
That said, farmers still feel like old perceptions exist among some members of the public. More than 90 per cent of the respondents think people are unaware of how species at risk affects farmers. And most believe the lion's share of environmental conservation responsibility falls on them.
I believe that's true. Odds are any species found to be at risk are unlikely to call highly populated areas home. Either that, or they'll have left areas where urban sprawl is occurring, to find more environmentally friendly confines – such as farmers' fields.
It's an additional social responsibility for farmers. And regardless of whether they accept it willingly (which seems to be the case) or begrudgingly, they don't feel supported.
But maybe that's partially a lack of communications.
"Farmers' commitment to species at risk isn't understood by the public," says Christine Schmalz, senior environmental programs coordinator with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, which conducted the survey. "We need to communicate it better."
The association administers a species at risk incentive program on behalf of the province. It covers up to 80 per cent of the cost of projects in which farmers engage to protect species at risk, or provide habitat. Administrators are currently reviewing more than 60 applications for projects such as riparian preservation or restoration projects, fencing and planting native species.
Says Andrew Graham, the association's executive director: "Farmers do care about species at risk. They're willing to take action where reasonable, and practical."
Owen Roberts teaches agricultural communications at the University of Guelph. His column appears Monday. You can also check out his Urban Cowboy blog at www.guelphmercury.com.