Starting in 2018, the Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) received a grant from the EcoAction Community Funding Program, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, to partner with the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISC BC) and the Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council (SISC) to work with local partners in both provinces and adopt aquatic habitats to remove aquatic invasive species, resulting in restored shoreline and wetland areas.

To monitor the project’s success, local organization and volunteers involved with this project were asked to complete a survey related to behaviour change during the field season in 2019 and 2020. The survey gathered information on the awareness and attitudes of individuals towards invasive species in the BC and Saskatchewan communities where the program took place.

The results from the first survey will be compared to a second, post-program survey to help measure change in behaviour associated with invasive species as a result of this project.

Below is a synopsis of the results from the first survey:

  • The number of staff each organization had ranged from 0 to 7 staff members. Sixty percent of the organizations were completely volunteer based with no staff.
  • The number of volunteers per organization ranged from 10 – 100, however the average was 28 volunteers per organization.
  • The experience respondents had dealing with aquatic invasive species ranged from less than 5 years and more than 10 years, see the breakdown below:
    • 20% had less than 5 years experience
    • 40% had between 5 and 10 years of experience
    • 40% had more than 10 years
  • Knowledge on the capacity to deal with aquatic invasive species was ranked between 1 and 10, with 10 being a greater knowledge. The average overall ranking of knowledge was 7. However, the average ranking of knowledge increased between the field season of 2019 and 2020, from an average of 6 to 8.5.
  • Organizations were asked to select the activities they undertake to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The responses indicated that multiple prevention activities are undertaken by each organization. See the percentage breakdown by each activity type below:
    • General outreach and education (80%)
    • Inventorying and monitoring for new aquatic invasive species (80%)
    • Prevention focused activities (ex. Clean Drain Dry, Don’t Let it Loose) (80%)
    • On-the ground control and removal of aquatic invasive species (80%)
    • Other (Monitoring and restoration after treatment) (20%)
  • Respondents were asked to select the activities they had planned for the 2019- 2020 field season, prior to receiving additional support through this project. The results indicated that all organizations had plans to undertake invasive species activities regardless of receiving additional funding or support from this project. The breakdown by planned activity type is shown below:
    • Attend outreach events to disseminate information (60%)
    • Undertake removal and management of a specific aquatic invasive species (100%)
    • None 0%
    • Other (surveying, sampling, and monitoring of aquatic invasive species; prevention activities; post-treatment monitoring; field programs for terrestrial invasive species) 80%
  • Respondents were asked to rank their most focused on invasive species from 1-3. The species below are listed by frequency as an answer and in the ranking provided by respondents (from highest to lowest):
    1. Yellow flag iris
    2. Zebra and quagga mussels
    3. American bullfrog
    4. Reed canary grass
    5. Golden willow
    6. Eurasian water milfoil
  • Organizations were asked to indicate where they applied for funding from a list of funding sources. The results are shown below:
    • Federal government (50%)
    • Provincial / Territorial government (50%)
    • Regional government (75%)
    • Foundations (75%)
    • Corporations (25%)
    • Other (0%)
  • Forty percent of respondents secured funding to complete field activities planned for the 2019-2020 field season prior to being involved in this project. Of that 40%, funding was received from the following sources:
    • Federal government (33%)
    • Provincial / Territorial government (67%)
    • Regional government (67%)
    • Foundations (33%)
    • Corporations (0%)
    • Other (local partnerships and volunteers) (67%)
  • Organizations used the following communication activities to promote their work:
    • Social media (80%)
    • E-newsletters (60%)
    • Newspaper Advertisements (20%)
    • Press releases (80%)
    • Other (website and YouTube) (20%)

The above survey results from organizations and their volunteers implementing the Take Action, Be Aquatic Wise program in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, has provided some interesting preliminary insights. We’re looking forward to comparing and sharing the second survey results and learning how we can better promote the long-term health of waterways and shorelines!

Continue to spread the word to others about aquatic invasive species and how they can help:

1Learn what they look like and report them. By learning what they look like and reporting their sightings, you are contributing to their early detection, resulting in action to prevent their further spread. If we learn of where these species are before they get a foot hold, we may be able to stop them. To learn about the species in your province or territory, along with the reporting system to use, go HERE.

2. Prevent their spread. If you like to go outside, bike, fish, boat, kayak etc. you might be spreading invasive species without even knowing it. Be sure to clean off and check your gear for invasive plants and animals before moving to a new location. To learn more about this, visit our website HERE.

3. Tackle them. We worked with ISC BC and SISC to create an “Adopt an Aquatic Area Toolkit”. The purpose of the toolkit is to assist other stakeholder groups in protecting our precious aquatic habitats by effectively addressing aquatic invasive species issues. The toolkit is a step-by-step guide on how to adopt and aquatic area impacted by invasive species and how to restore and manage it. Find the toolkit HERE.


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