YISC members are working to address the impacts from invasive species through prevention, early detection & rapid response, and management. We are not alone in these efforts and are working together with land users and owners, people in neighbouring jurisdiction including Alaska, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and with federal partners.
Prevention is the most cost effective means of controlling invasive species. Preventing invasive species from entering into new areas avoids significant long-term economic, environmental, and social costs.
In the Yukon we are still in a position to prevent invasive species infestations before they become widespread. The lack of invasive infestations is likely a result of our low population density, limited development and disturbance of pristine wilderness. Invasive species often are opportunistic species that take advantage of a lack of competition from other species. In natural conditions with a high native species density, they have a harder time establishing themselves.
To keep new invasive species from entering the Yukon, it means acting now to improve prevention efforts.
Examples of prevention efforts include:
- Don’t import plants, plant parts or seeds that are already known to be a problem elsewhere.
- Follow the federal import and export rules – these are in place to prevent disease spread and introduction of foreign (i.e. invasive) animals, plants, etc.
YISC is further promoting prevention by:
- Increasing public awareness – this webpage is one way of doing this.
- Working together with import/export officials to keep invasive species outside of our borders.
- Working together with North British Columbia invasive species specialists to track what might be coming from the south onto the highways.
Early Detection & Rapid Response (EDRR)
Even by best measures, because invasives are opportunistic by nature, prevention is not always possible. So the next best measure is early detection. A rapid response to the detection of a new invasive species allows for eradication of this species or will help minimize the extent of the species. To accomplish EDRR in the Yukon we need to:
- Develop surveillance of high risk entry points, along highways, horticultural centers, etc.
- Improve surveillance in general. We have watchful eyes keeping track of plants and large animals, but we need to improve surveillance of insects and other small creatures and plants.
- Participate in coordinated public monitoring networks to detect and report invasive species (Canada’s IAS strategy, B.C. Invasive Plant Council, Alaska CNIPM)
- Develop or participate in systems and networks for rapid decision-making and efficient communication.
- Develop an emergency response and contingency plan.
- Procure funding to assist organizations in rapid response.
- Assess the probability of reinvasion - this will determine whether to eradicate completely or to just control by monitoring the site.
An example of EDRR in progress is the identification and eradication of oxeye daisy populations in south eastern Yukon. For the last three years YISC members have been mapping oxeye daisy populations along the Alaska Highway corridor between Watson Lake and Teslin. In conjunction, the plants are being removed and sites are monitored for regrowth. The tremendous team effort for this work is shown by the partners in this work: funding from the Canada’s Invasive Alien Partnership Program; support from Yukon Environment through their summer youth program (Y2C2); Yukon Highways and Public Works staff participation; and the Northeast B.C. Invasive Plant Council who further helped with control efforts.