Today we celebrate World Water Day, an awareness initiative focusing on the importance of freshwater, held on March 22nd each year since 1993. By celebrating and raising awareness on the importance of freshwater resources, this effort aims to support access to safe water to those without it around the world. Canada is abundant with freshwater resources, our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands hold an astounding 20% of the world’s freshwater! This vast resource provides important ecosystem services to Canadian’s (including drinking water), as well as supports the health and richness of our ecosystems. However, this vast and rich resource, comes with the large responsibility to protect our waterways and the species they support. Unfortunately, the health of our waterways is threatened by aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, European common reed, among other non-native species that can impact drinking water infrastructure, outcompete native species for resources and space, reduce aquatic biodiversity, degrade our shorelines and impede our ability to use beaches and waterways for recreation. Through projects like Take Action, Be Aquatic Wise, Canadians are being engaged and informed on how to protect freshwater resources and shorelines, and to stop the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species.
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. The overall objective of the project is to improve water quality and restore key shorelines, wetlands threat of invasive species across Canada. Providing behaviour change prompts and reminders to recreationalists, business owners and other groups can help to prevent the spread of invasive species in our waterways.
This World Water Day we are inviting Canadians to take action to protect our freshwater resources. See below for information resources and tools to help business owners, water recreationalists, citizen scientists and others to learn more about the impacts of invasive species and simple actions to prevent aquatic invasive species across Canada!
Watercraft Recreationalists: 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 and to commit to always Clean Drain and Drying your watercraft, visit our website CleanDrainDry.ca and take the pledge!
Citizen Scientists and Local Activists: Reporting invasive species helps local land managers, scientists and decision-makers to better understand the spread and distribution of invasive species and to better predict and prevent further spread of harmful invasive species. 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 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, visit ReportCanadaInvasives.ca.
Tackle invasive species in your area! 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 Adopt a Habitat Toolkit.
Marina Owners: See our Invasive-wise Marinas program for information and tools to prevent aquatic invasive species to your clients. Tools and resources include our best management practices factsheet, pledge form, signs, posters, and decals that promote boaters to Clean Drain Dry, as well as recognize your business as an “invasive-wise marina”. Learn more and access these resources at InvasiveWiseMarinas.ca
Organizations: Become a program partner and help prevent the spread invasive species by promoting aquatic invasive species awareness and the Clean Drain Dry initiative to your audience. Learn more about partnership opportunities and access our Clean Drain Dry resource library, visit CleanDrainDry.ca
Everybody: We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species across Canada. By learning more about invasive species threatening Canada and the actions you can take to prevent their spread you can make a difference by empowering those around you to do the same. Find resources on invasive species in Canada, here CanadaInvasives.ca, find tips to promote local action with the Adopt a Habitat Toolkit, and promote others to take positive action by sharing posts from Clean Drain Dry Canada @CDDCanada on Twitter and Facebook.
Happy World Water Day and thank you for doing your part to protect our rich freshwater resource – our aquatic ecosystems will THANK YOU!