The VOICE of Anglers and Hunters since 1928

Celebrating 25 years of Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program

OFAH commitment to conservation includes the fight against invasive species

PETERBOROUGH – For almost 90 years, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has worked tirelessly to promote and encourage the conservation of Ontario’s fish and wildlife and their supporting ecosystems to ensure continuing benefits for all Ontarians.

In recent years, one of the biggest threats to those efforts has been the introduction and spread of invasive species, which have considerable impacts on our environment. Anglers and hunters experience the impact of invasive species firsthand, and with that understanding came the knowledge that something needed to be done to address this critical issue. As a response, in 1992, we joined forces with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) with the objective of generating education and awareness of invasive species, addressing key pathways contributing to introduction and spread, and facilitating monitoring and early detection initiatives for Ontario.

“Investment in the ISAP is a natural fit for a grassroots conservation organization like ours,” says OFAH executive director Angelo Lombardo. “Our members expect us to tackle any threats to fish and wildlife conservation in Ontario, and the harmful impacts of invasive species on our woods and waters is known all too well to anglers and hunters.”

From its humble beginnings in 1992, the ISAP has grown into a large scale, multi-faceted program.  When launched 25 years ago, the program focused on reports of zebra mussels through the Zebra Mussel Hotline, which eventually became the Invading Species Hotline, a toll-free resource resulting in the reporting of hundreds of invasive species sightings each year. And now the ISAP offers a suite of reporting tools including a website with an affiliated mobile app, making reporting easier than ever before, resulting in thousands of reports made to the program each year.

There is no doubt that the complexity of this issue has only grown over the past 25 years, and as a result, there has been a continued need to expand the depth and scope of the program, which works with numerous partners to deliver community-based education and outreach initiatives for both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. The program currently tracks more than 150 invasive species and also plays a leading role in one of the largest eradication projects in Ontario – targeting the removal of water soldier from the Trent Severn Waterway.

The ISAP has come a long way since 1992 and is proud to be celebrating not only its successes and achievements, but also the contributions from other organizations who have joined the fight, including the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, the Invasive Species Centre, and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association.

“This is a necessary fight. Invasive species impact all of us and it will be important for us to work together and coordinate our efforts for the next 25 years as we continue to work to protect our environment and economy from invasive species,” adds Lombardo.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters believes in the future of healthy fish and wildlife. A commitment to conservation and responsible outdoors participation are core values for the OFAH and our 100,000 members and supporters.

Media contacts:

Shawn Cayley
Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext. 270
shawn_cayley@ofah.org

Sarah Chadwick
Invading Species Awareness Program Communications Liaison
705-748-6324 ext. 250
sarah_chadwick@ofah.org