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The Early Detection & Rapid Response (EDRR) Network Ontario project aims to train and equip volunteers with the skills and resources needed to better detect and reduce invasive species in Ontario, one community at a time.

This project will help move invasive species knowledge and action outside of expert circles by arming volunteers with awareness, knowledge and tools to undertake on-the-ground projects in the community. Together, we will increase the awareness of invasive species and support hands-on work to detect them and reduce their impacts.

About EDRR

Why is this work being done?

Invasive species include plants and insects that are introduced to Canada from other places and whose spread threatens the environment, economy, or society, including human health. The effects of invasive species are often irreversible and once established, they are extremely difficult and costly to control and eradicate.

In Canada, Ontario is at the highest risk for invasive species introductions and plays host to more invasive species than any other province or territory.

The early detection of, and rapid response to, invasive plants and insects increases the possibility of controlling and potentially eradicating these species before they become established, or spread further across the landscape.

What will be done?

This pilot initiative aims to systematically create, train and equip an Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) network to provide eyes on the ground to detect, track, respond to, and control invasive plants and insects in four pilot areas in Northern and Southern Ontario (Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Credit Valley Conservation Watershed and Conservation Halton Watershed). The goal is to work with existing networks of experts, municipalities, landowners, community groups and volunteers to empower citizens to take action in invasive species issues within their community.

Working Together

Who will do this work?

This project will be co-delivered by the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC). The backbone of this initiative will be volunteers drawn from community groups, naturalist and conservation clubs, riverkeepers groups, recreational fishing clubs, cottage and lakes associations, gardening clubs, youth groups and students.

In addition to community volunteers, local professionals and practitioners such as municipal foresters, groundskeepers, hydro workers, pesticide applicators and parks managers will also be trained to be specialized in proper control of invasive plants to further support local level control activities.

Collaborators

When it comes to invasive species prevention and management, coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders is the key to success. EDRR collaborators contribute in a number of ways including assistance with project coordination efforts, science-based advice for various aspects of the project, assistance with volunteer recruitment and project promotion.