|Invasive species get caught on recreational equipment like boats and trailers. Photo: Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
Invasive species are threatening BC’s aquatic and riparian ecosystems, such as streams, lakes, and wetlands, and the species that rely on them. They spread alarmingly fast between waterbodies and can create lasting ecological and economic damage, especially to the recreational areas that we enjoy.
How do aquatic invasive plants spread?
Water-based recreation activities, like angling, boating, diving, and hunting, can spread aquatic invasive species to new locations. Plants, animals, and microscopic creatures can cling to clothing, equipment, and boats. If our gear, clothing, and boats are not cleaned before entering or leaving an area, these species can be introduced into new bodies of water. In addition, the intentional or accidental release of these species from garden ponds and aquariums is a primary pathway of introduction.
Think ahead when planning an outing on the water. Ask yourself:
1. When entering and departing the water, is my boat, trailer, and other equipment clean of aquatic debris?
2. What are the local aquatic invasive plants I should be aware of?
3. If I spot an aquatic invasive plant, do I know who to alert?
What can we do? Prevention is best!
Overall, being aware of aquatic invasive plants and how to prevent their spread are the most effective actions you can take! Thank you for considering the following prevention steps to protect our waters:
Water Recreation: “CLEAN-DRAIN-DRY” all equipment, boats, motor, trailer, bait buckets, and pets of aquatic debris before leaving. Never transport plants, sediment, or live bait among bodies of water.
Aquariums/Ponds: Check that species are not invasive before acquiring or sharing them. Drain aquarium water on dry land. Never release or flush unwanted aquarium/pond species or water into natural waters, drainage ditches, or sewers.
Disposal: Dry out, bag and landfill, or incinerate. Control established plants using site- and species- appropriate methods—hand pulling, digging, cutting, and mowing.
Keep an eye open and report these Aquatic Invasive Species: Eurasian Watermilfoil, Parrotfeather, Didymo, Zebra and Quagga Mussels, Common Carp, and Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass.
Report Aquatic Invasives: 1-888-WEEDSBC (1-888-933-3722), contact your Regional Committee, or enter data through the provincial Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP).
T.I.P.S. I: Aquariums and Water Gardens discusses how the intentional or accidental release of aquatic invasive plants from aquariums and water gardens into BC's natural waterbodies is a primary pathway of introduction. Aquarium hobbyists, pond owners, pet store owners and customers, and water landscapers can help prevent their establishment by making informed choices when selecting, trading, purchasing, or disposing of aquatic plants.
T.I.P.S. J: Water-based Recreation provides a summary of best management practices designed to assist boaters, anglers, and hunters in preventing the spread of "unwanted" aquatic invasive species. Plants, animals, and microscopic creatures can cling to clothing, equipment, and boats. If not cleaned, these species can be introduced into new bodies of water, and can cause significant damage to existing ecosystems.
Floating Key Tags and Aquatics Carabiners - Visit the Online Store!
ISC Directors, members, and others have identified aquatic invasive plants awareness as a priority for coordinated action in BC. Based on this direction, the ISC struck an Aquatic Plants Advisory Committee in 2009 to collaboratively develop the Aquatic Invasive Plants Action Plan. Key projects in recent years include the development of two Activities T.I.P.S., floating key tags, and waterproof Aquatics carabiners (as described above). Thank you to the Aquatic Plants Advisory Committee for your expert guidance!