Invasive Species Awareness Monitoring Program & Lake Education Ontario (IsampleON)

In 2021, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) and the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) launched a citizen science program called IsampleON (Invasive Species Awareness and Monitoring Program for Lakes Education Ontario). The purpose of the program was to collect and analyze water samples from selected waterbodies, to monitor them for invasive mussels and spiny waterflea.

Following the successful completion of the 2021 program, FOCA is pleased to announce this program is continuing in 2022 and an additional 29 lakes have been selected to sample.

Program participants are required to collect 3 water samples (boat use required) over one day and ship them (fees covered) to the ISC for lab analysis. After that, participants must be willing to post and share information about invasive species prevention in their community, via posting sign(s), sharing articles / information, and through other means (social media etc.) which FOCA will provide.

FOCA Webinar: Zebra Mussels in Ontario & IsampleON training Q&A (held June 15th, 2022). Join FOCA and Renata Claudi, M.Sc. from RNT Consulting Inc. for a webinar about the history of Zebra Mussels in Ontario, where and how they are spreading, and how they are impacting our waterways. Click here to watch the online posting (video; 1 hour).

Related resources:

December 18, 2022 – FOCA’s Terry Rees spoke to CBC about eDNA and how the technology can be used to help citizens become “ecological detectives”

March 26, 2021 – Zebra/Quagga mussels found in moss ball products across Canada: Learn proper disposal and reporting (ISC)

Click here to see a time series from USGS showing the spread of Zebra Mussels, starting in 1986

For more about FOCA’s work on invasive species, visit:

Find more from our partners here:

2021 Media coverage:

2021 Photo contest: Congratulations Jade, the IsampleON Photo Contest winner! And thank you to the more than 100 entrants who are doing their part to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Although the contest is over, you can still help stop the spread of AIS. Learn more here.

August 12, 2021 – our volunteers have been busy sampling and spreading educational messages about preventing the spread of invasive species at the lake, and they are now beginning to report back on the status of their on-the-ground projects, and sending us images of their accomplishments, like the ones at the side.

One group in the Township of North Kawartha reported that they got their Mayor to participate in hanging the “Help Protect our Lakes” sign at the local boat launch, and she posted a video PSA to Facebook about the importance of preventing the spread of invasive species!

A note to lake association volunteers: FOCA reminds and encourages everyone to always keep physical distancing in mind while at the lake. It is incumbent on each individual to monitor their own behaviour and volunteering activities to adhere to the latest Public Health protocols related to COVID-19

Michelle LewinIsampleON