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Green Shovels is a collaborative of like-minded conservation organizations, and a collection of projects designed to achieve job creation, economic recovery, and environmental progress while addressing invasive species issues.  

Green Shovels projects are shovel-worthy “green” projects to help support job and economic stimulus planning and as ongoing employment and sustainable infrastructure work. 

Working together, the Green Shovels collaborative has extensive expertise and networks who share a common interest in protecting the environment and economy from invasive species. The Green Shovels coalition includes Ducks Unlimited Canada, Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, Invasive Species Centre, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.  

Together we represent millions of Canadians, with members who are cottagers, outdoor recreationists, anglers, and hunters. We are also land managers, with many hectares of land under ownership or management. We treasure our land, water, and natural assets and everything that they bring to our lives and our livelihoods and we see the devastating impacts of invasive species on the economy and environment.  

We collaborate to offer a list of shovel ready projects which would achieve the governments objectives of job creation and economic recovery, bring important benefits to local communities and the environment, and take necessary action on the invasive species issues of concern. Working collaboratively, we achieve bigger and better results in a more efficient manner, resulting in long-term positive change on the landscape. 

Why invasive species?

Invasive Species are considered the second most important threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. Invasive species arrive, often accidentally, and establish in the absence of natural predators. As a result, these species kill, crowd out, and devastate native species and their ecosystems. Invasive plants and animals not only threaten wildlife, woodlands, and waterways, but they also cost Canada billions of dollars in losses to forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and other industries affected by their impact. The costs of invasive species are underappreciated, large, and growing.

Between 2017-2019, the Invasive Species Centre reached out to Ontario municipalities and conservation authorities to find out how much they spend on invasive species each year. The resulting report estimates the amount that Ontario municipalities and conservation authorities are spending on invasive species, but this is just a fraction of the economic impacts of invasive species. Combined potential impacts on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, healthcare, tourism, and the recreation industry are estimated to be approximately $3.6 billion per year in Ontario.

Another recent study estimated the global cost of invasive species to society at a minimum of $1.288 trillion in the period from 1970 to 2017. Costs are not only large, but they are increasing over time. The yearly bill from invasive species tripled each decade. In 2017 alone, it hit $162.7 billion, or 20 times the combined budgets of the WHO and the UN Secretariat that year.

Source: (Diagne, C. et al., 2021)

Green Shovels projects achieve a triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social benefits and address serious invasive species issues through innovation and strategic focus. 

Economic Benefits and Job Creation

Green Shovels projects support local contractors, local communities, youth, and young professionals. These projects have a high leverage rate of at least three to one and are supported by generous financial and in-kind contributions from organizations and partners. 

Economic Benefits and Job Creation

Green Shovels projects support local contractors, local communities, youth, and young professionals. These projects have a high leverage rate of at least three to one and are supported by generous financial and in-kind contributions from organizations and partners. 

Environmental Benefits

Green Shovels projects are scalable from small to large and deliver major improvements in leading environmental challenges: 

  • Habitat creation & protection 
  • Reducing invasive species 
  • Reducing flooding 
  • Protecting species at risk 

Environmental Benefits

Green Shovels projects are scalable from small to large and deliver major improvements in leading environmental challenges: 

  • Habitat creation & protection 
  • Reducing invasive species 
  • Reducing flooding 
  • Protecting species at risk 

Social Benefits

Green Shovels projects are proposed and fulfilled by organizations who know local communities well and know how to quickly roll out green legacy projects with local buy-in and support. These projects reconnect people and places.

Social Benefits

Green Shovels projects are proposed and fulfilled by organizations who know local communities well and know how to quickly roll out green legacy projects with local buy-in and support. These projects reconnect people and places.

Our current projects deliver:

Job Creation

  • Employ youth & young professionals  
  • Support municipalities & local communities  
  • Build rural opportunities & get small business back to work  
  • Harness technology solutions 

Sustainable Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions

  • Support tourism & recreation  
  • Re-imagine rivers  
  • Restore regional habitats & support species at risk  
  • Protect infrastructure 

In late 2020, two Green Shovels projects were generously supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. 

Solutions for Invasive Phragmites

  • Invasive Phragmites – A Strategic Framework for Coordinated Management in Ontario  
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis for Treatment and Control of Phragmites in Ontario 
  • Building Capacity at the Community Level for a More Effective Phragmites Response using the Invasive Phragmites Control Fund.

Innovative Tools for Invasive Species 

  • Tool Gap Analysis and Road Map 
  • Genomic Tools and eDNA 
  • Innovative Early Detection for Wild Pigs – Wild Pig Webcams 
  • Improved Training for Invasive Forest Pests 
  • Development and Integration of Mapping Tools

Can we help you with sustainable infrastructure and green job creation with our menu of project ideas?  

This Green Shovels list is designed to start conversations on projects to be considered as part of a government stimulus plan and as ongoing work. They will achieve a triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social benefits, are proposed by solid organizations with proven track records, and can be implemented quickly and at any time.  

We would be pleased to discuss these ideas with you. 

Projects will: 

  • Help meet federal, provincial, and global conservation policy benchmarks 
  • Deliver co-benefits for climate change, flooding, critical habitat, and biodiversity 
  • Bring ongoing high leverage value via strong donor bases and committed supporters 

Proposed projects are scalable, flexible, and involve $50M in investment and 1,000 jobs. 

Reach out to one of Green Shovels partners anytime at info@greenshovels.ca for more information or to offer your assistance and expertise: 

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Kyle Borrowman

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Kyle Borrowman

Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations

Terry Rees

Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations

Terry Rees

Invasive Species Centre

Sarah Rang (Green Shovels Project Coordinator)

Invasive Species Centre

Sarah Rang (Green Shovels Project Coordinator)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada

Eric Cleland

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Eric Cleland

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Sophie Monfette

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Sophie Monfette

Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Sue Carstairs 

Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

Sue Carstairs