An invasive species is defined as a plant, fungus, or animal species that has been introduced to, rather than is native to a specific location. Invasive species are a threat to our lakes, forests and wetlands.
Here is a brief look at some of the invasive species to be aware of in Haliburton County. For further reading, and more in-depth information, please visit our Resources section. There are some excellent resources on monitoring, and reporting invasive species.
From Eurasia, they were first seen in lake St. Clair in 1988. They have quickly spread and are now in all of the Great Lakes and have come to Haliburton via the Trent-Severn waterway. Even though they live only 2-5 years, a female can produce up to one million eggs per year and like all invasive species they have few natural enemies in Ontario.
They live on phytoplankton, which is a core element in the food chain and therefore have an adverse effect on many native species. From a human perspective, they have a positive and negative effect. An adult can filter one litre of water per day, so they make the water more clear. But they attach to hard surfaces and cause millions of dollars in damage to power generating facilities, water treatment plants and home/cottage water intakes.
Spiny Water Flea
Its lifespan varies from several days to a few weeks, and females may reproduce with or without male involvement. Eggs can become dormant over long periods of time - over winter and even out of water. They feed on zooplankton and can consume three times as much food as native species. Although not harmful to humans, they can have an adverse effect of native species that rely on a zooplankton food source.
The Rusty Crayfish is a native crustacean of the Ohio River system and was first noticed in the Kawartha Lakes in the early 1960’s. One of 350 members of the North American crayfish family, their claws are larger and more robust than native Ontario crayfish and they can live for 3-5 years. They compete for food with native crayfish and fish and will prey on fish eggs. Unlike native crayfish, these may pinch a dangling finger or toe.
These were originally introduced into lake Ontario from the Finger Lakes in N.Y. in the early 1900’s and into the Upper Great Lakes from Green Lake, Maine. They were probably brought into lakes in Haliburton as bait for Lake Trout when ice fishing. Great food for game fish and welcome during spawning runs in many areas of the Great Lakes (particularly lake Erie).
The main problem with this species is that it is a voracious feeder of young or small native fish and crustaceans. They can live to a maximum of 6-7 years.
It lives in wetlands, near streams and in fields. Although attractive, it is a hardy plant that can spread easily and displaces native plants
It really is a giant as it can reach a height of 5.5 metres under ideal conditions, and is by far the most hazardous of these invasive species. Each plant can produce up to 50,000 seeds, which can remain viable for up to 7 years.
The clear watery sap contains toxins that can cause serious skin problems within 48 hours, particularly when exposed to the sun (primarily UV). Effects include redness, a burning sensation, blisters and even black or purplish scaring. Eye contact with the sap may cause temporary blindness, so immediate flush the eyes and seek urgent medical attention. Do not try to burn or compost this plant and it is wise to hire a professional to eradicate it.