Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

June 18, 2014 11:45 ET

Local "Hit Squad" Students Fighting Invasive Species in Ottawa and Carleton Place This Summer

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 18, 2014) - Invasive species pose a growing threat to Ontario's biodiversity and cause millions of dollars in damage annually. There are more invasive species in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada, so it is a good thing the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) Hit Squad is working across the province again this summer to spread awareness about the impacts invasive species are having on our environment, economy, and society. One Hit Squad member will be located in Ottawa this summer and another will be on the job in Carleton Place.

Locally, Duncan McTaggart is an Invasive Species Community Outreach Liaison working with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). Kelly Skaug is an Invasive Species Community Outreach Liaison working with Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and OFAH.

"The awareness of invasive species is key to preventing their spread or introduction," McTaggart says. "Please visit www.invadingspecies.com to educate yourself about invasive species in your area."

"We are very fortunate to have many beautiful and healthy lakes within the Mississippi watershed," Skaug says. "Invasive species can pose a serious threat to the health of our lakes. Prevention through public awareness is key to stopping the spread or introduction of new invasions."

The OFAH partners with the Ministry of Natural Resources to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program. This program uses public education 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 about 25 summer 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.

To report a sighting of an invasive species, or request information materials, call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, visit www.invadingspecies.com or EDDMapS.org/Ontario. You can follow the Hit Squad progress on Twitter @invspecies or @ofah.

The public is invited to contact Duncan McTaggart at duncan_mctaggart@ofah.org and Kelly Skaug at monitoring@mvc.on.ca. To arrange a media interview, please contact the OFAH Manager of Communications. A high-resolution photo of the student is available upon request.

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