Be careful not to introduce invasive species to your cottage. Invasive species such as zebra mussels, Asian carp and Eurasian water-milfoil cost the province millions each year to repair the damage they do. Some invasive aquatic species can survive up to two weeks out of the water and not every invader attached to your boat can be seen with the naked eye. When you are hauling your boat out of the water inspect it for invasive plants and critters. Remove any plants from your boat, motor and trailer. Wipe plants off your boat and clean the bottom of your boat and trailer before you drive away from the boat launch. Drain your live well and bilge water before taking off. It is illegal in Ontario to release any live bait or dump the contents of a bait bucket in the water or within 30 metres of any water ways. With today being the start of free fishing week in Ontario, here are some tips and facts regarding invasive species.
Eurasian water-milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It is now one of the most widely distributed invasive aquatic plants on the continent. Eurasian water-milfoil prefers shallow water one to three metres deep, but can root in up to 10 metres of water. A fast-growing perennial, it forms dense underwater mats that shade other aquatic plants. When large stands begin to die off in the fall, the decaying plants can reduce oxygen levels in the water. Because tiny plant pieces can develop into new plants, Eurasian water-milfoil is easily spread when water currents, boat propellers, trailers or fishing gear carry plant fragments to new areas.
Asian carps were brought from Asia to North America in the 1960s and 70s. Since then, they have migrated
north through U.S. waterways towards the Great lakes. Asian carps prefer cool to moderate water temperatures, like those found near the shores of the Great Lakes. If Asian carps become established in Ontario waters, they could potentially eat the food supply that our native fish depend on and crowd them out of their habitat. The term "Asian carps" includes four species: Bighead, silver, grass and black carp. Bighead carp and silver carp are the species that have spread the most aggressively and can be considered one of the greatest threats to the Great Lakes. Silver carp are a hazard for boaters. The vibration of boat propellers can make silver carp jump up to three metres out of the water. Boaters and water-skiers in areas of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have been seriously injured by jumping fish.
Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater bivalves native to the Black Sea region of Eurasia. Zebra and quagga mussels are capable of heavily colonizing hard and soft surfaces, including docks, boats, break walls and beaches. These colonization's are also responsible for clogging intake structures in power stations and water treatment plants. Zebra and quagga mussels filter water to the point where food sources, such as plankton, are removed, thus altering food webs. This also causes clearer water, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper, increasing growth of aquatic vegetation.