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Ontario Seeking to Regulate 13 Invasive Species

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Ontario Seeking to Regulate 13 Invasive Species

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

The Ontario government is collecting feedback from stakeholders, Indigenous communities and the public that will support the development of a proposal to regulate 13 new invasive species. These species are:

Wild Pigs

  • Native to Europe and Asia. Eurasian wild boar were first introduced to Canada from Europe beginning in the 1980s as exotic livestock for meat
  • The term "wild pig" refers to any pig "outside of a fence" and includes:
    • domestic pigs that have become wild (or 'feral') and ownership cannot be determined
    • Eurasian wild boar
    • hybrids of domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar
  • Wild pigs can exhibit many colour phases, ranging from very dark to light, and may have spots. Escaped domestic pigs can grow a dense undercoat to help them to survive cold winter climates
  • Wild pigs have high reproductive potential which means that populations can increase in number and spread rapidly, making their impacts more severe.
  • Impacts to the natural environment include:
    • 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.

Marmorkreb (marbled crayfish)

  • A pet trade species created through selective breeding that has no known native populations; it is a descendant of the slough crayfish
  • Only one individual of the species is needed to establish a viable population as it reproduces through cloning
  • Pathways for introduction: intentional or accidental aquarium release
  • Potential impacts: transmission of diseases to native crayfish and destruction of aquatic plant communities.

Tench (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: intentional release, natural spread, possible illegal use as bait
  • Potential impacts: parasite transmission, competition with native fishes, reduced water clarity, destruction of aquatic macrophytes, reduced diversity of fish communities in western and central United States.

New Zealand mud snail

  • 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: recreational equipment, fish culture practices, transport of water; spread by fishes
  • Potential impacts: competitive exclusion of native snails and food web disruption.

European Frog-bit (plant)

  • Native to Europe and some areas of Asia and Africa
  • Established populations in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and some rivers and inland lakes
  • Pathways for introduction: transportation of seeds, winter buds and stem fragments by recreational gear and waterfowl, and through improper disposal
  • Potential impacts: dense colonies outcompete native vegetation, create anoxic conditions during large-scale decay, impede recreational activities.

Yellow Floating Heart (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: intentional or accidental release of water garden specimens, transport by waterfowl, flooding, and contaminated recreational gear
  • Potential impacts: dense colonies outcompete native vegetation, create anoxic conditions during large-scale decay, and impede recreational activities.

Prussian Carp (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: intentional or accidental aquarium release
  • Potential impacts: may lead to decline of native fish, invertebrate and plant populations, and may alter habitats by increasing the cloudiness of water.

Red Swamp Crayfish

  • 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 known to occur in Ontario
  • Pathways for introduction: aquarium trade, food fish release, accidental or intentional release
  • Potential impacts: compete with native crayfish species for food and habitat, feeding behavior reduces the amount of available habitat for amphibians, invertebrates, and juvenile fish.

Fanwort (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: aquarium use (improper disposal of aquarium plants), movement of boats, natural spread
  • Potential Impacts: Crowds out native plants, blocks sunlight to submerged plants, disrupts fish communities and clogs drainage canals and streams.

Bohemian Knotweed (plant)

  • Hybrid species of Japanese and Giant Knotweed
  • It has been reported in British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland and New Brunswick
  • It is possible that it exists in Ontario, since both parent plants are present here, although it has not been reported
  • Pathways of introduction: planting in gardens, ornamental plantings
  • Potential impacts: The knotweeds (bohemian, giant, Himalayan and Japanese) 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.

Giant Knotweed (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: planting in gardens, ornamental plantings. Soil, gravel, and other fill material from infested areas, may spread knotweeds to new locations
  • Potential impacts: The knotweeds (bohemian, giant, Himalayan, and Japanese) 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.

Himalayan Knotweed (plant)

  • Native to the Himalayan mountain region in southern Asia
  • There are no known populations in Ontario, however, it has been reported in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
  • Potential impacts: The knotweeds (Bohemian, Giant, Himalayan, and Japanese) have similar impacts. They 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.

Mountain Pine Beetle

  • Native to western Canada but has expanded beyond its historical range into north-central Alberta
  • The jack pine tree, which grows across the Canadian Shield into Ontario, is susceptible to mountain pine beetle
  • The mountain pine beetle has not yet been detected in Ontario but poses a significant threat to the area. If introduced to Ontario, it will affect forest management plans, wood supply planning, fire frequency and severity, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, watershed management, recreation and property values.

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