Aliens Are Here: What Can We Do?
By Jim Cornish
Of course we aren't talking about little green men who fly around in spaceships. We're referring to the many alien species of plants and animals that are invading our country and our province - maybe even your backyard. It turns out, individuals are responsible for the introduction of many alien species to Canada. You can do your part to help prevent further invasions by following these principles:
Do not release alien plants or animals (including pets and live bait) into the wild.
Do not bring fruit, vegetables, plants, or animals with you across international borders. Be cautious about what you carry across interprovincial borders.
Before taking a recreational trip, inspect and clean fishing equipment, boats, trailers, recreational vehicles, and other items that may harbour hitch-hiking invaders.
Do not transport over long distances firewood or other wood with bark attached.
Learn which plant species are invasive, and remove them from your garden. Be aware that native grass or wildflower seeds sold through seed catalogues sometimes include seeds from alien species. If you are unsure about a new species, plant it where you can easily control its spread, and remove it if necessary.
Avoid planting alien species next to, or within, natural areas, roadsides, or forested fence rows.
Keep natural habitats on your property healthy.
Volunteer with local environmental organizations that work to maintain healthy ecosystems or restore degraded ecosystems.
Know where consumer products come from (especially food, pets, and biological pest-control products).
Source: Hinterlands Who's Who
We can also keep a watchful eye for new species in our area and report any finds to the government agencies or groups responsible for monitoring them. For plants, contact Memorial University's Botanical Garden (709- 737-8590). For plants or animals, contact the Dept. of Environment and Conservation (709- 637-2026). For marine organisms, contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (709-772-6984).
Finally, educate yourself. Here are some helpful links to more information about alien species:
Invasive Species Specialist Group
International Day of Biodiversity
National Invasive Species Information Centre
Hinterland Whos Who
Invasive Alien Species in Canada
Invasive Species in Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Stop the Spread
MUN Botanical Garden
Exotic and Alien Invasive Species Posters