Ontario Passes Invasive Species Act

Giant hogweed (en.wikipedia.org, Fritz Geller-Grimm).

Giant hogweed (en.wikipedia.org, Fritz Geller-Grimm).

     Designed to target invasive species such as Phragmites australis, giant hogweed, kudzu, water chestnut, sire woodwasp, Asian carp and northern snakehead, critics of the Act say it is shortsighted, reactive instead of preventative, and more punitive than helpful.

     "It just doesn't provide the tools for either existing provincial enforcement officers or any extra tools for landowners," said MPP Steve Clark. "The bill seems much more punitive and I think it presents a fairness issue when you are asking someone to deal with an issue like invasive species to either control it, remove it or eradicate it and you don't give anybody the power or the finances to be able to deal with it."

     And while the bill is being criticized, everyone agrees that something must be done about the state of invasive species in the province; 70% of its good are imported through the St. Lawrence Seaway/Great Lakes System (a system with many invasive species) and culprits like the emerald ash borer have already devastated areas in Southern Ontario and Quebec.

     The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry defended the act in a letter sent to the local news outlet The Brookeville Recorder (original article here) saying the act provides "the authority to regulate carries of invasive species such as firewood. However, at this time no species or carries have been regulated or proposed for regulation under the Act."