Since 2021, FOCA and the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) have partnered in a community science program called IsampleON (Invasive Species Awareness and Monitoring Program for Lakes Education Ontario), with funding from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Action is needed to protect inland lakes that are free from or at high risk of aquatic invasion.

May 2023 – FOCA is very pleased to announce that the Invasive Species Awareness and Monitoring Program for Lakes Education Ontario (IsampleON) is continuing in 2023. APPLY NOW!

FOCA will be selecting additional lakes this year, using volunteer citizen scientists (that’s you!) to help collect water samples from selected waterbodies. Utilizing the latest in eDNA detection technology, FOCA will be working with select lake associations through the summer of 2023 to broaden our collective understanding of the spread of harmful invasive species. Target species this year include European water chestnut (Trapa natans), and Water soldier (Stratiotes aloides).

The region of greatest concern for spread, and the monitoring target for 2023, is broadly the eastern and central portions of Ecoregion 5E (roughly Ottawa through Parry Sound-Muskoka; click on the map at the side to enlarge).

DEADLINE EXTENDED! – APPLY HERE: Download & complete the 2023 application form (PDF, 2 pages) and return it to by June 12th!

The IsampleON program (Invasive Species Awareness Monitoring Program & Lake Education in Ontario) which FOCA launched in 2021 with colleagues at the Invasive Species Centre (ISC), continued in 2022 with targeted outreach, education, and sampling for invasive mussels and spiny water flea in lakes on the Canadian Shield. Thank you to the 58 volunteers who collected water samples and eDNA samples for lab analysis at ISC, and who shared educational information about local invasive species prevention throughout 2022. We know early detection is essential to protect our lakes and rivers from the negative impacts of aquatic invaders on these key ecosystems.

Learn more about the invaders!

2022 program – FOCA webinar: Zebra Mussels in Ontario & IsampleON training Q&A (June 2022). Join FOCA and Renata Claudi, M.Sc. for a webinar about the history of Zebra Mussels in Ontario, where and how they are spreading, and how they impact our waterways. (Online, 1 hour)

Related resources:

Environmental impacts of zebra and quagga mussels are serious. Invasive mussels filter plankton out of the water, depleting food sources for native species. Large colonies can take over fish spawning areas and beaches. Zebra and quagga mussels can reduce native mussels and increase the presence of aquatic weeds and toxic algal blooms, which can have health impacts on people, pets and native wildlife.

Please note: the following is archival material, and some links to third-party resources may no longer be active.

One 2021 program volunteer in the Township of North Kawartha got their Mayor to participate in hanging the “Help Protect our Lakes” sign at the local boat launch, to remind boaters to “Clean & Drain & Dry” to prevent spreading invasive species! 

Earlier Media Coverage:

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