Invasive Species – OVERVIEW

FOCA is very concerned about the potential impacts of introduced species and the effect they can have on our quality of life in Ontario. We have already seen the impacts from the many existing and looming invasive species introductions, including forest pests like the Emerald Ash Borer, aquatics like the Zebra Mussel and Asian Carp. These invaders have proven to alter the environment, damage our economy, and negatively impact our communities.

June 1, 2021 – FOCA hosted a ‘lunch and learn’ webinar about Invasive Species and Boater Pathways, with our partner Colin Cassin of the Invasive Species Centre. FOCA Members are encouraged to watch (and share) the webinar or the slides with fellow members!

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How can you help prevent the spread of invasive species in cottage country?

Some general best practices are:

  • garden using only non-invasive plants
  • dispose of bait properly
  • buy firewood locally
  • inspect and clean your boat & motor when changing water bodies

Download and share FOCA’s Invasive Species info sheet (pdf; 2 pages)

Find out more about invasive species in Ontario: click here for a link to the Cottager Action Plan that you can also download and share.

Other Invasive Species Resources:

Know what to look for and then take action!

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If you identify any invading species near your cottage call the Invading Species hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or visit Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program.


August 2021 – “Mussel Loss, Mussel Gain” –  Zebra Mussels are being displaced by Quagga Mussels in Lake Simcoe (Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority)

July 11, 2021 – Massive snail die-off is unheard of and could affect ecosystem, expert says (CBC)

July 2021 – Picture captures die-off of Banded Mystery Snails on Lake Kashawakamak (CBC News)

July 2020 – read about Starry Stonewort in Kawarthas waterbodies (Drew Monkman)

May 2021 – FOCA supports the Province’s proposal to consider regulating the overland movement of boats between waterbodies, to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Submit a letter of support by June 7, 2021, using the template on our campaign webpage. THIS CAMPAIGN HAS NOW ENDED. Related information:

  • read FOCA’s letter to MNRF supporting the regulation of Clean, Drain, Dry within the Invasive Species Act.
  • review the proposal to revise the Invasive Species Act (ERO 019-3465), posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

February 2020 – Ontario’s Invasive Species Act, 2015 is the subject of an Environmental Bill of Rights posting open from February 13, 2020 until April 14, 2020, and relates to listing 13 more species as invaders within the Act. In addition, MNRF wants to determine if current education focused on Clean, Drain, Dry principles and practices should be made mandatory through regulation under the Act.

February 21, 2020 – Saskatchewan Releases New Aquatic Invasive Species Strategy – This new Strategy (PDF 19 pages, 1.5MB) recognizes that prevention is the most economically effective approach, and has a focus on partnerships to support education, awareness, prevention, early detection and management.Aug.7, 2019 – Meet the ‘Most Wanted’ Invaders of Lake Simcoe. Click here for the article.

December 2017 – Collaborative fights Phragmites with international approach. Read the article from the International Joint Commission (IJC) here.

April 2017 – planning your garden? Read this Toronto Star article about plant selection, and avoiding invasives

February 2017 – the film “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes” is a documentary about invasive species. Watch the trailer here.

A Case Study:

September 2016 – (The University of Wisconsin) Trophic Cascades / Unforeseen impacts of invasive species – Milwaukee and the National Park Service has been helping to research the causes of botulism poisoning in birds along the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park. Leading this team is Dr. Harvey Bootsma. In describing the impacts of invasive species (quagga mussels) on the state of Lake Michigan, Dr. Bootsma was quoted saying:

“…if you went to Yellowstone Park and the bison were gone, there would be an uproar it would be really obvious and the Park just wouldn’t be the same. Yet the changes to Lake Michigan have been far more dramatic than that. If you looked at the change in species in the lake over the last 20 years – it’s a whole new system. Most of the public – and most policy makers – aren’t really fully aware how dramatic these changes are, and how fundamentally the lake has changed…”

For more, visit:

Michelle LewinInvasive Species – OVERVIEW