We know that Invasive Species is not a topic that is the most fun but it is an extremely important topic for anyone who enjoys any body of water. Lake Simcoe currently has many identified invasive species (including the Round Goby, Quagga Mussels, and Zebra Mussels) that people enjoying the lake should be aware of (especially those of you who are fishing or taking your boats to other lakes). There are many resources online to identify the full range of invasive species (over 440 in Ontario and counting!), link can be found below.
Why are invasive species something we should be worried about? Invasive alien species are non-native species that disrupt the environment in which they are introduced and cause ecological harm. Depending on where and when the species is introduced invasive species can cause serious damage including wiping out important native species and completely changing the ecological makeup of a place.
How do invasive species make their way into our areas? There are several ways a non-native species may make its way into an environment. Some of the ways that invasive species find their way into new territory include through travel (whether by purposefully bringing items or having seeds attach to clothing and coming along for the ride), species lurking in ballast water of cargo ships or attached to the outside of vessels (either on the hull or prop), or excess bait being dumped into bodies of water by people fishing.
What can you do to help stop the spread of invasive species? Clean! Drain! Dry! Clean all clothing, vessels, and any other item that has potentially come into contact with invasive alien species thoroughly before leaving the area (preferably with hot water or salt water). Drain anything that may hold water or be a spot something could hide. Make sure everything is completely dry before moving to a new location.
A little effort by everyone can go a long way!
For more information visit: The Nature Conservancy of Canada