Organizers urge action against invasive species in Okanagan and Similkameen regions

May has been declared as Invasive Species Month in British Columbia

An environmental organization is urging Okanagan and Similkameen residents to take action to reduce the spread of invasive species in the province.

“Invasive species know no boundaries; they span landscapes, land ownerships and jurisdictions. Because of this, it’s imperative that we work cooperatively to address the issue. We all need to take responsibility,” said Lisa Scott, executive director of the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society.

May has been proclaimed as Invasive Species Action Month in British Columbia. This month-long event provides an opportunity for people all around the province to participate in local events and learn more about how to reduce the spread of invasive species.

READ ALSO: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP calls for response to failing invasive species program

READ ALSO: Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Invasive species are plants, animals, aquatic life and micro-organisms that out-compete native species when introduced outside of their natural environment. These include zebra mussels, yellow starthistle and spotted lanternfly.

Scott said these unwelcome invaders create an imbalance in nature by competing for the same resources that native species need to survive.

The economic costs associated with invasive species in Canada are measured in the tens of billions of dollars, and those costs are escalating.

During Invasive Species Month, OASISS aims to engage residents with locally-relevant topics and create awareness using an entirely digital platform.

Posts on Facebook and Instagram will focus on useful tips and information that can be employed in every day life to prevent the spread of invasive species.

The society will also launch a “Weed to Win” contest, where property owners in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen have the chance to win a prize pack by sharing photos of invasive plants they have removed.

“This is an excellent time to take action against invasive species, as many people are spending more time at home and in their backyards,” says Scott.

OASISS is a non-profit organization that has been actively participating in prevention, detection and management of invasive plants in the Okanagan-Similkameen since 1996.

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