Starting in 2018, the Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) received funding from the EcoAction Community Grant 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 and boat launched impacts by aquatic invasive species, and to also to continue to raise awareness of the issue of invasive species across Canada.
The key component of this project is the on-the-ground action to improve water quality and restore key shorelines through the hard work of local volunteers. In just the first year of this project, the Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council (SISC), along with the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, the Meewasin Valley Authority, the South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards and the Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council, including all of their volunteers, joined forces and adopted 45 km of the South Saskatchewan infested with Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus) and removed all patches of the invasive species found.
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISC BC) partnered with the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), Friends of Bridge Lake, Williams Lake Indian Band, and Friends of Todd Creek Watershed and all their volunteers to remove and monitor the spread of Yellow Flag Iris.
As you can see, much of any conservation work, invasive species related or not, is dependent of dedicated community members who take time out of their busy lives to contribute to these efforts.
So, why should you take action and volunteer? Read on to find out!
Volunteering connects you to others
Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. You can make new friends and contacts, increase your social and relationship skills and volunteer with your family!
Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health. Volunteering can help counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. It can combat depression, makes you happy, boost your self-confidence, provide you with a sense of purpose and can help you stay physically healthy.
Volunteering can advance your career
If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization.
So, convinced you want to volunteer? Check out our Chapters page to find your local invasive species council and find out how you can get involved.
What else can you do to help combat invasive species? Check out the tips below!
1. Learn what invasive species 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.
2. Prevent their spread. If you like to go outside, bike, fish, boat, kayak etc. you might be spreading invasive species without even knowing about it. Be sure to check your gear for invasive plants and animals before moving to a new location.
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.