Overview

Ontario is taking action to prevent the establishment and spread of invasive species, helping to protect our province’s natural environment and socio-economic wellbeing. The government is adding 13 new invasive species to be regulated under the Invasive Species Act. The government is also regulating watercraft as a carrier of invasive species under the act. These new requirements will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Species being regulated as prohibited invasive species

Species being regulated as restricted invasive species

13 new invasive species

The new additions are:

European frogbit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (aquatic plant)

  • Native to Europe and some areas of Asia and Africa.
  • Established populations in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, rivers and inland lakes.
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include transportation of seeds through winter buds and stem fragments by recreational gear and waterfowl, and through improper disposal of plant material.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Creates dense colonies which can outcompete native vegetation
    • Due to large-scale decay, may create areas of anoxic water
      • Anoxic waters are areas of water that are depleted of dissolved oxygen
    • Impedes recreational activities
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Marmorkreb or Marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (crustacean)

  • A pet trade species created through breeding in captivity (within an aquarium) that has no known native populations; it is a descendant of the slough crayfish.
  • Only one marbled crayfish is needed to establish a viable population as it reproduces through cloning.
  • Pathways for introduction include Intentional or accidental aquarium release.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Damage to native crayfish populations through direct competition for food and habitat as well as the potential to spread disease
    • Destruction of aquatic plant communities through feeding and burrowing activities
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Red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (crustacean)

  • Native to Gulf coastal plain from the Florida panhandle to Mexico and from southern Mississippi River drainage to Illinois.
  • Introduced range includes California, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin (not currently in Ontario).
  • Pathways for introduction include aquarium trade, food fish release, accidental or intentional release.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Outcompete native crayfish species for food and habitat
    • Feeding behavior reduces the amount of available habitat for amphibians, invertebrates, and juvenile fish
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New Zealand mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (mollusk)

  • Native to streams and lakes of New Zealand.
  • Established populations in Lake Ontario (1991), Lake Erie (2005), and likely Lake Superior (2001); detected in Lake Michigan (2006).
  • Able to reproduce sexually or through cloning (all invasive North American populations are all female clones).
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include recreational equipment (e.g., watercrafts), transportation of water; natural spread by fishes.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Outcompetes native snails for food and habitat
    • Food web disruption
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Tench Tinca tinca (fish)

  • Native to Europe and western Asia.
  • Established populations in St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Ontario-Quebec border; multiple individuals captured in Ontario’s portion of Lake St. Francis.
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include intentional release, natural spread through connected waterbodies, possible illegal use as bait.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Transmission of parasites
    • Outcompete native fishes
    • Reduced water clarity
    • Destruction of aquatic macrophytes (plants)
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Prussian carp Carassius gibelio (fish)

  • Native to central Europe to Siberia.
  • Introduced to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and parts of Europe.
  • Able to reproduce by gynogenesis, a process that gives rise to new females (male not required for reproduction).
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include intentional or accidental aquarium release, illegal use as bait.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Decline of native fish, invertebrate and plant populations through competition for food and habitat
    • Possible transmission of diseases to native fishes
    • May alter habitats by increasing the cloudiness of water
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Carolina fanwort Cabomba caroliniana (plant)

  • Native to the southeastern United States and parts of South America.
  • Established populations in Kasshabog Lake, and other parts of the Crowe River watershed in central Ontario; also established in waters of the northern United States, Asia and Australia.
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include improper disposal of aquarium plants, movement of boats which transport plant fragments, natural spread through connected waterbodies.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Crowds out native plants
    • Blocks sunlight to submerged plants
    • Disrupts fish communities and clogs drainage canals and streams
    • Negatively impacts recreational opportunities such as boating and swimming
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Yellow floating heart Nymphoides peltata (plant)

  • Native to Europe and Asia.
  • Introduced to North America in late 1800s, populations have established in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and some US states.
  • Pathways for introduction and spread include intentional or accidental release of water garden plants, transportation by waterfowl, flooding, and contaminated recreational gear.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Creates dense colonies which outcompete native vegetation.
    • Can create anoxic conditions during large-scale decay and impede recreational activities.
      • Anoxic waters are areas of water that are depleted of dissolved oxygen.
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Bohemian knotweed Reynoutria ×bohemica (plant)

  • Hybrid species of Japanese and Giant Knotweed.
  • It has been reported in British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick.
  • Although not confirmed, it is possible that it exists in Ontario, since both parent plants are present here.
  • Pathways of introduction or spread include ornamental plantings, movement of soil or recreational equipment contaminated with plant materials.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Can aggressively outcompete native plants threatening biodiversity and degrade stream and river habitats by contributing to sediment erosion (roots do not hold the soil).
    • Vigorous stems and rhizomes can also push through concrete and asphalt, damaging infrastructure and building foundations.
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Giant knotweed Reynoutria sachalinensis (plant)

  • Native to northern Japan.
  • Has been found in Southern Ontario, mostly in the southeast (i.e. Leeds County, Ottawa-Carleton) and in the Niagara Region.
  • Pathways of introduction or spread include ornamental plantings, movement of soil or recreational equipment contaminated with plant materials.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Can aggressively outcompete native plants threatening biodiversity as well as degrade stream and river habitats by contributing to sediment erosion (roots do not hold the soil).
    • Vigorous stems and rhizomes can also push through concrete and asphalt, damaging infrastructure and building foundations.
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Himalayan knotweed Koenigia polystachya (plant)

  • Native to the Himalayan mountain region in southern Asia.
  • Currently, there are no known populations in Ontario, however, it has been reported in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
  • Pathways of introduction or spread include ornamental plantings, movement of soil or recreational equipment contaminated with plant materials.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Can aggressively outcompete native plants threatening biodiversity as well as degrade stream and river habitats by contributing to sediment erosion (roots do not hold the soil).
    • Vigorous stems and rhizomes can also push through concrete and asphalt, damaging infrastructure and building foundations.
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Mountain pine beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae (insect)

  • Native to western Canada but has expanded beyond its historical range into north-central Alberta.
  • The mountain pine beetle has not yet been detected in Ontario but poses a significant threat to the area.
  • The jack pine tree, which grows across the Canadian Shield into Ontario, is susceptible to mountain pine beetle.
  • Pathways of introduction or spread include contaminated wood products, natural dispersal.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Negatively affects forest management plans, wood supply planning, fire frequency and severity, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, watershed management, recreation, and property values.
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Wild Pigs Sus scrofa (mammal)

  • Native to Europe and Asia. Eurasian wild boar were first introduced to Canada from Europe beginning in the 1980s as exotic livestock for meat.
  • A wild pig is any pig that is not contained or under the physical control of a person. This includes free roaming pigs that are:
    • Domesticated pigs (for example, pot-bellied pigs and farmed domestic breeds, including heritage breeds)
    • Eurasian wild boar
    • Hybrids of domesticated pigs and Eurasian wild boar
  • Pathways of introduction or spread include captive pigs that have escaped, or are otherwise released, into the natural environment.
  • Potential impacts:
    • Preying upon native plants and wildlife
    • Competing with native wildlife for food, water, and space
    • Rooting into the ground with their tusks and snouts to dig for roots, tubers, bulbs, worms, insects, slugs, and snails
    • Trampling and wallowing habits can cause erosion, impact water quality, and degrade natural areas
    • Spreading disease to wildlife
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Watercraft as a carrier of invasive species

  • As of January 1, 2022, boaters will be required to remove drain plugs and take reasonable precautions to remove all aquatic plants, animals and algae from their boats immediately upon removing the watercraft from a waterbody. In addition, boaters will also be required to ensure their watercraft is free of all aquatic plants, animals, and algae before arriving at a boat launch or launching their boat in any Ontario waterbody.
  • Moving watercraft overland to other waterbodies in Ontario (and adjacent jurisdictions) may inadvertently spread invasive species.
  • These rules are based on the Clean, Drain, Dry practices which have been promoted through long term education and outreach efforts in Ontario and across North America and are based on experience from rules and regulations set by other jurisdictions.