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HomeHealth and LifestyleNew, aggressive, invasive species found in the Trent Severn Waterway

New, aggressive, invasive species found in the Trent Severn Waterway

KAWARTHA LAKES-Cottagers on Stoney Lake are taking action after an aggressive invasive species was found in some areas of the Lake.

Resident, Carol Cole put out a warning on Facebook about Starry Stonewort, an aggressive macroalgae native to Eurasia. This grass-like algae spreads rapidly and forms dense, impenetrable stands that can survive the winter and is also resistent to herbicides according to the Trent Severn Waterway officials.

Cole says the weed has been found at the Lost Channel on Stoney Lake, Gilchrist Bay, near Pine Vista Resort and at Wildfire Golf Course. Warning signs have been posted in the area. There are reports of it being found in Sturgeon Lake as well. It’s unclear what other lakes are infested with the weed. We have asked Kawartha Conservation for more information on this and are waiting for their response.


Courtesy of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

According to Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Starry Stonewort can outcompete other aquatic plants, harming habitat for fish and wildlife by reducing cover and food sources. Its dense mats can also impact boating, swimming, and other recreational activities.

Parks Canada told Kawartha 411 News they are aware of Starry Stonewort in the Trent-Severn system but are unsure of what to do about it.

“Although it’s been identified as an invasive species, impacts to the ecosystem and effective control techniques are not yet clear due to limited research data. As there are not yet any effective tools that have been proven to control Starry Stonewort, it would be unwise for Parks Canada to implement any management until further information and research data is available.” says Karen Feeley, Communications Officer, Parks Canada.

Research is underway and the plant is being studied in terms of its impact to the aquatic ecosystem, by Kawartha Conservation Authority through a partnership with University of Ontario Institute of Technology. They are looking at a cross section of a number of lakes and the organisms progression across the summer.

“Parks Canada also relies on data from public reports of incidents of invasive species to the Invasive Species Center through Ontario’s Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMaps)  https://www.eddmaps.org/ontario/  Reporting occurrences into this system will help with an accurate representation of the current occurrences in the Kawarthas.” Feeley says. “Together, all this data will help inform future management decisions.”

Meanwhile the weed continues to spread.

” What we do know is that Starry Stonewort is difficult to remove once it has taken hold because harvesting and herbicide have little to no impact.” Feeley states. “We all have a role to play in keeping StarryStonewort out of waterways, especially boaters as they will have the greatest effect in helping to slow its spread.”

Here are some tips to help control the spread of this invasive species.

If Starry Stonewort gets tangled in your props, do not disentangle and throw it back into the water as this contributes to its spread. Instead, it is important to always dispose of Starry Stonewort away from the water, on land, and ensure that all boats, motors, trailers and fishing gear are cleaned, drained and dried, before moving to a new location.

Starry Stonewort arrived in the St. Lawrence River in 1978 and since then has made its way into the Trent-Severn Waterway. Fragments of Starry Stonewort can get tangled in trailers, motors, anchors and inside watercrafts (boats, canoes and kayaks). Small bulbi can also stick to anchors, ropes, fabric and footwear. These small fragments are enough to start new growth and allow the algae to spread quickly.

If you spot Starry Stonewort or any other invasive species, please contact the Invasive Species Hotline, 1-800-563-7711.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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