Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Recreational boating is one of the joys of living by the water or having a cottage on a lake or river.

BUT, invasive species “hitch hikers” can migrate to our lakes if vigilant precautions are not maintained by everyone. Invasive species can have a devastating effect on the environment around our waterfront properties and in our lakes. Unlike native species, alien invasive species tend to have no natural threat to their survival. They move in and can take over ecosystems through rapid reproduction, and out compete and kill native species.

Some of the invasive species trying to make their way into our waterways include fish such as round goby, Asian carp, and invertebrates including zebra mussel and spiny water flea.

Invasive aquatic plants can also become a problem. The introduction of Eurasian Watermilfoil can dramatically change the quality of boating and other water activity. These pests have the capacity to disrupt natural food webs and change the precious aquatic ecosystem, and also pose problems for swimming, boating and fishing. Zebra mussels for example can clog water intakes and make underwater surfaces dangerously sharp. Zebra mussels can also increase the growth of aquatic plants.

To prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association recommends that every boater take precautions. Many species can cling to equipment and survive out of the water until they reach the next body of water, washing and drying your boat, trailer and related equipment is crucial when moving from a body of water to another body of water.

Drain water from the motor, live well, bilge and transom immediately after leaving the water. It is recommended that the boat and equipment be dried for five days in the sun before transporting to another body of water. Or, wash the boat, trailer and equipment with hot tap water or spray with high pressure water of at least 250psi.

Bait buckets should be emptied on land. Regulations now control bait species but again, always empty bait buckets on dry land.

If you spot invasive species or signs of invasive species in your area contact the invading species hotline at 1 800 563 7711. Or, register to use the new online mapping tool called EDDMapsOntario (Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System).Now you can contribute to tracking and monitoring aquatic invasive species in Ontario ways ways.


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