Have you found an invasive species?
With over 440 invasive species in Ontario, it’s very possible there’s an invasive species near you. They exist in the water (Round Goby, Zebra Mussel), and on land (Dog Strangling Vine, Emerald Ash Borer). They may even be in your own backyard.
Invasive species are a problem
Invasive species do what their name suggests and “invade” an area, overtaking most other species and causing significant social, economic and environmental impacts. Invasive species are the second biggest threat to biodiversity, after habitat loss. What makes invasive species so good at survival is also what makes them so hard to control.
The most effective strategy against invasive species is to prevent them from ever being introduced and established.
It’s important to heed some basic tips:
- learn about a plant before putting it in your garden;
- don’t throw bait fish back in the water;
- clean your boat before going to another lake;
- don’t move firewood.
Once introduced, invasive species can be next to impossible to eliminate.
If you spot an invasive species
Take a picture of it to help with identification. Do not touch it or move it. Such practices can actually contribute to further spread. They can also be dangerous because some species, like Giant Hogweed, are quite noxious.
If the invasive species is on your property
Report the sighting to Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program. As much as public agencies are interested in controlling the spread of invasive species, their budgets are limited. Contact a professional for proper disposal.
If the invasive species is on public property
Call the stewards (owners) of that property. So for example, if it’s a municipal park, call your local municipality. If it’s a conservation area, call your local conservation authority.