Invasive Species Management

Shorelands are particularly susceptible to plant invasions for multiple reasons. For one, they are at the interface between two major ecosystems (aquatic and terrestrial) and therefore support seed dispersal by multiple means (wind, water and animals). The second reason is that their soils tend to be rather exposed from natural and human disturbances, making seed establishment easier. They are subject to heavy anthropogenic disturbances through the development of seasonal cottages and homes which destroy native vegetation and make way for alien species to invade. In addition, many lakes in Cottage Country are frequently fished, making way for the introduction of non-native species through intentional introduction (for sport fishing reasons or through the aquarium trade), in fishing bait, ballast water, and on fishing gear such as boats, trailers and tackle. It is very difficult to manage or eradicate invasives once they have established, especially in aquatic ecosystems, so prevention is always the best option. 

The best way to prevent the establishment of non-native species is through early detection and reporting. It helps scientists, land managers and fisheries personnel locate, assess and manage invasive species, hopefully before they have time to fully establish. You can report sightings of any invasive species online through EDDMapS Ontario, a web-based mapping system which also has an app, or through the Invasive Species in Ontario project on iNaturalist.org. You can also use either of these maps to see where certain invasives are already a problem so you can plan to take specific precautions. Keep reading to learn more about the common invasive species plaguing lakes in Cottage Country, and some ways in which they can be identified and mitigated.

Invasive Aquatic and Semi-Aquatic Plants

Phragmites

The Land Between has numerous invasive aquatic and semi-aquatic plants that can be in the form of free floating, rooted floating, rooted submerged (underwater), or emergent (both under and above the water’s surface) plants. In general, invasive aquatic and semi-aquatic plants negatively impact recreational activities, such as swimming and boating, as well as fisheries by displacing native plant species, decreasing oxygen supply in the water, and disrupting food webs. To learn more about invasive aquatic plant species in The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how they can be managed, click on the links below:

To learn more about the invasive plant species surrounding The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how it can be prevented from entering The Land Between, click on the links below:

Invasive Invertebrates

Zebra Mussels

Invasive invertebrates (animals that lack a vertebral column, or backbone) in The Land Between often get introduced via ballast water, bilges, the movement of bait, the aquarium trade, or intentional, unauthorized introductions. Once in a lake ecosystem, they tend to outcompete native species, disrupt food webs, interfere with native fish spawning grounds and food supply, clog water intake pipes, and act as a nuisance to fishing, boating and recreational activities. To learn more about invasive invertebrate species in The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how they can be managed, click on the links below:

To learn more about the invasive invertebrate species surrounding The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how it can be prevented from entering The Land Between, click on the link below:

Invasive Fish 

Round Goby

Invasive fish in The Land Between can get introduced via ballast water, the movement of bait, the aquarium trade, or intentional, unauthorized introductions. Once in a lake ecosystem, they tend to outcompete native fish for food and habitat, disrupt food webs, and even eat the eggs and young of sport fish. It is important to note that moving fish such as Bass or Walleye into other lakes where they don’t already exist, although they are native species to The Land Between, can create problems by disrupting food webs. To learn more about the invasive fish species in The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how they can be managed, click on the links below:

To learn more about the invasive fish species surrounding The Land Between, why they are a problem, what they look like, and how it can be prevented from entering The Land Between, click on the links below:

References and Reading Resources

Curly Leaf Pondweed Fact Sheet, produced by the Alberta Invasive Species Council

Eurasian Watermilfoil Control Methods and Eurasian Watermilfoil Invasion Mechanisms & Management presentation, created by Hope Hill 

Great Lakes Nonindigenous Species Information System, produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

Grow Me Instead (Southern Ontario) Brochure, produced by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Invasive Aquatic Plant Species: A Quick Reference Guide, produced by Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters 

Invasive Japanese Knotweed - Best Management Practices in Ontario, produced by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Invasive Phragmites - Best Management Practices, produced by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Invasive Reed Canary Grass Best Management Practices, produced by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Methods to Control Invasive Species, produced by Credit Valley Conservation 

Ontario Invading Species Awareness Program, developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH).

Prevention and Response Plan for Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides) in Ontario, produced by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Purple Loosestrife Best Management Practices in Ontario, produced by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Purple Loosestrife: What You Should Know, What You Can Do, produced by Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Strayer, D., & Findlay, S. (2010). Ecology of freshwater shore zones. Aquatic Sciences, 72(2), 127–163. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00027-010-0128-9

Zebra Mussel Fact Sheet, produced by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

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