Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

July 15, 2011 09:00 ET

"Hit Squad" is Spreading the Word in Peterborough

Invasive Species Summer Student is on the Job Fighting Invaders

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 15, 2011) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Invasive species pose a growing threat to Ontario's biodiversity and cause billions of dollars in damage annually. With more invasive species found in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada, it is a good thing that there is someone from the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) Hit Squad working here in Peterborough this summer.

Locally, Arron McChesney is an Invasive Species Technician working for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) at the OFAH Ontario Conservation Centre. Arron is helping to manage the busy Invading Species Hotline phone line, and is also taking the ISAP exhibit to regional events throughout the summer.

"Everyday I have the opportunity to talk with people about how they can help prevent the spread of aquatic and land-based invasive species. One of the problems with invasives is that they tend to displace native species, which other native species may depend on for food or habitat," says Arron. "Prevention and control are critical when it comes to invading species, so it is true that everyone can make a difference just by taking small steps such as cleaning your boat off when you're moving between waterbodies, and buying your firewood at your destination instead of transporting it from home."

The OFAH and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources partner to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program, the largest program of its kind in Canada, which uses public education and awareness to prevent the introduction of new invasive species, and to stop the spread of those already here.

Over the course of the summer, the Invasive Species Hit Squad, comprised of approximately 20 students, will monitor more than 200 local lakes, waterways and forests, looking for zebra mussels, spiny water flea, round goby, giant hogweed, garlic mustard, and other invaders. They will also contribute to a variety of efforts to control the spread of these invaders. Funding is being provided by the federal government's Canada Summer Jobs program. Conservation authorities, stewardship councils and other community groups are also providing assistance.

The public is invited to contact Arron at 705-748-6324 ext 278 or email him at arron_mcchesney@ofah.org. To report a sighting of an invasive species, or request informational materials, call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or visit www.invadingspecies.com.

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