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Invasive Species Centre gets whack of cash from Ontario government

Ontario makes $850,000 contribution to fight against invasive species throughout the province
Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano, left, speaks to Invasive Species Centre Business Development & Communications Manager Deborah Sparks during Friday's funding announcment. The centre received $850,000 for ongoing research and management. James Hopkin/SooToday

The Invasive Species Centre (ISC) is receiving $850,000 from the Ontario government for research and management of invasive species throughout the province.

“We want to protect what matters most in this province, and one of those things that matters the absolute most is our environment and our natural resources, and they are under attack, many times, by invasive species,” Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano told SooToday following Friday announcement at the Invasive Species Centre.

According to its annual fiscal report, ISC had more than $1.5 million in expenditures for the 2018 fiscal year.

An ISC survey of municipalities and conservation authorities in 2017-2018 found that the overall costs to combat invasive species in the province comes with an estimated price tag of $38.8 million annually.

The full text of a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry follows:

The Ontario government is protecting what matters most by investing $850,000 in the Invasive Species Centre to support ongoing research and management of invasive species across the province.

The Invasive Species Centre, based out of Sault Ste. Marie, brings together government, academic, industry and Indigenous communities and organizations to conduct invasive species research, response planning, management and habitat restoration.

"We recognize the importance of prevention, early detection, response, and eradication of invasive species for our natural environment and the people of Ontario," said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"With this investment we are prioritizing research and response strategies to prevent long-term impacts to our land, lakes, rivers, and economy," said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie.

The ministry will continue to work with conservation partners to coordinate prevention, management, and research activities to help address this serious threat while promoting public education on the negative impacts of invasive species.

"The Invasive Species Centre is committed to working together to find efficiencies in the fight against invasive species and thanks the Government of Ontario for its support and commitment to protecting our natural spaces and economy," said Bob Lambe, President, Invasive Species Centre Board of Directors. "The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan recognized that preventing invasive species is the single most effective and least costly method to manage invasive species. In fact, for every dollar spent on coordinated multi-jurisdictional prevention activities, $3 in mitigation, regulatory and depletion costs can be avoided if only one such pest is prevented from establishing."