Environmental Warnings

Protecting OUR LAKE and YOU

URGENCE QUÉBEC: PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK IN CASE OF A MAJOR FLOOD, DAM RUPTURE, FOREST FIRE, EXTREME WEATHER ETC: https://www.urgencequebec.gouv.qc.ca/En/Pages/documentation.aspx


INDEX: 1: Invasive species 2: Jelly fish 3: Ticks 4: General information 5: Climate Change 6: Composting 7: Fireworks 8: Dangerous plants to know

1

Invasive species

The beautiful nature of our lakes is a delicate balance of biodiversity that we humans have yet to fully understand.  What happens when this balance is disrupted, or invaded by alien species? What can we do to protect our lake from nasty invaders? Prevention, fellow cottagers, is the best defence.  Here’s how….

What’s an Invasive Species?

Environment Canada explains that an invasive species is a species that comes from another part of the world and “causes significant ecological, economical and environmental damage”.  Like human invaders, these alien species:

  • Displace native species and compete with them for resources
  • Degrade habitat
  • Introduce disease
  • Breed with native species to form hybrids

Think Eurasian milfoil, toxic blue green algae, Asian carp, wild parsnip and emerald ash borer – that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Once they arrive, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and expensive to get rid of them.

Is far-reaching. Not only is the native biodiversity forever disrupted, including the complete loss of some native species, we humans are affected too. Some invasive species, toxic blue algae, wild parsnip and giant hogweed, are toxic and harmful. Others change our landscapes; the emerald ash borer is decimating the native ash trees in our forests. And in our ‘lakescapes’ Eurasian milfoil is blanketing shallow lake beds making it a nasty experience for swimming, fishing, and boating.

Our lake enjoyment is reduced and so too perhaps is our property value!

What Can We Do?

As much as we can to prevent the species from arriving in the first place!  Most invasive species hitch a ride to their new conquest. On watercraft, boat trailers, in firewood, in transplanted plants and soil, your fishing gear and bait, and even on your clothes, alien plant seeds and parts, bugs and fish can find their way to our lake.

Yet another invasive species… ***Rusty crayfish*** are now found in the Ottawa river and Pémichangan in the Lac Sainte Marie municipality. Something else we have to be aware of 😕. News report in french:

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1148767/lac-brome-saint-laurent-biodiversite-peche-etats-unis-taches-rouges?fbclid=IwAR0gYyWAm68agQ04mcYgFBiWu2Ouiwo94cRX9LRMnE3vp9f4vTFnHfPZ9aQ

Here are a few tips to help prevent to spread of invasive species:

Aquatic Species Terrestrial Species
Learn how to identify the species
Stay clear of the species Stay on trails and away from areas known to have these plants
Carefully inspect all watercraft including kayaks, canoes, paddles, life jackets, water toys and boat trailers for plant parts – including your guests’ items Carefully inspect, clean and safely remove any plant parts and seeds from your clothing, shoes, pets, lawn and garden equipment and even your vehicle, ATV and bicycle tires
Rinse all watercraft and boat trailers with hot water (40C) and dry completely before putting in the water Safely clean garden and lawn equipment before moving them to another area
Do not dump fish bait in the lake Discard yard waste properly and NOT in natural areas
Keep the phosphorous low in the lake to prevent rapid plant growth; use only eco-certified household products, NO fertilizers, don’t dump ashes in the lake and maintain a native plant shoreline buffer Avoid disturbing soil, removing plants from or bringing plants to natural areas
Do not transport cut wood or firewood
Minimize your wake which helps some species propagate Learn about and plant only native species in your garden; avoid invasive garden species

Report any sightings of invasive species to your municipalities

Prevention of the introduction and spread of exotic invasive species:

Video which explains in five easy and effective steps to clean up fishing boats and recreational crafts: click here

bibittes A

Want to know more about invasive species in our lake? Click here: Dont-give-a-ride-to-intruders

The Eurasian Milfoil:

This is eurasian milfoil,  DO NOT CUT THEM… they will multiply! Ask us for the secure procedure to remove them

What does Eurasian milfoil look like?

Eurasian milfoil resembles the native Northern Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum).Unlike the Eurasian variety, Northern milfoil offers shade, shelter and foraging opportunities for fish. There are several distinguishing characteristics that can be used to differentiate between the two species; please see graphic for the details.

Invasive Eurasian Milfoil Native Northern Milfoil
how to identify invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil how to identify native northern milfoil
  • Usually 12-21 leaflet pairs per leaf
  • Delicate, feather-like leaves
  • Leaflets are mostly the same length
  • Leaves arranged in whorls (circles) of three to five around each stem
  • Leaves are limp when out of water
  • Stem is as thick or thicker than a pencil and is long and spaghetti-like
  • Usually 7-10 leaflet pairs per stem
  • Rigid feather-like leaves form a Christmas tree shape
  • Lower leaflets are usually quite long
  • Leaves arranged in whorls (circles) of four to six around stem
  • Leaves are usually rigid when out of water
  • Stem is usually whitish, or whitish-green in color

Want to more about the invasive Eurasian milfoil click here

The Zebra Mussel:

This is the zebra mussel that is already present in the Ottawa and Gatineau rivers:

Background

Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater bivalves native to the Black Sea region of Eurasia. Both species were believed to have been introduced in the late 1980’s by ballast water from transoceanic ships carrying veligers (larvae), juveniles or adult mussels. Zebra and quagga mussels are capable of heavily colonizing hard and soft surfaces, including, docks, boats, break walls and beaches. These colonizations are also responsible for clogging intake structures in power stations and water treatment plants.

Range

Zebra mussels are found throughout all the Great Lakes. They have also been found in the St. Lawrence River and north to Quebec city.

Impacts of Zebra Mussels
  • Zebra mussels filter water to the point where food sources such as plankton are removed, altering food webs. This also causes clearer water, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper, increasing growth of aquatic vegetation.
  • Impact fish and wildlife by increasing toxic algal blooms.
  • Large colonies affect spawning areas, potentially impacting the survival of fish eggs.
  • Affects recreational activities by cutting swimmers feet as a result of their sharp shell.
What You Can Do
  • Learn how to identify zebra and how to prevent accidentally spreading these invasive species.
  • Inspect your boat, trailer and equipment after each use. Remove all plants, animals and mud before moving to a new water body.
  • Drain water from motor, live well, bilge and transom wells while on land.
  • Rinse all recreational equipment with high pressure (>250 psi), hot water (50°C / 122°F) OR let it dry in the sun for at least 5 days.

Asian Carps:

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. The Asian Carp and its hybrid is coming our way. Presently they are naturally blocked by our hydro dams but…

How anglers can help:

  • Don’t dump your bait! Always put unwanted bait fish in the garbage and empty bait bucket water on dry land. It is illegal to dump the contents of any bait container into the water or within 30 metres of any lake, pond, river or stream.
  • Make sure you check your bait. As an angler, you are responsible for making sure you only possess species that may legally be used as bait – even if the bait came from a bait dealer. See Fishing.
  • Learn to identify Asian carps. Don’t confuse young Asian carps with common species.

For more information:

2

Jellyfish:

Concerning the its presence here:

In our lake? No but …

Regarding the presence of jelly fish in some rivers in our region (in french) : Méduses – 2016

3

Ticks:

Want to know more about them and how to remove them, click here: http://etick.ca/en/

4

Information from other organizations:

From COBALI, the Regroupement and other associations

VARIOUS SUBJECTS (POWERPOINT): Capsules ANG

Survey done by Ontario cottage associations: report overview-boats

5

Climatic Change:

12 most used arguments about CLIMATIC CHANGE: click here

6

Composting:

Composting: Dépliant COMPOST-bilingual

7

Fireworks:

Consequences for the lake environment, (in french): click here

8

Spotting Dangerous Plants

Author: Tony Xu

Wearer of many hats and helmets: writer, CSIA level 3 ski pro, data geek, back country explorer, rookie rock climber. Driven to tell stories that bring the adventurous spirit out of everyone.

You’ve packed everything on your hiking checklist, and have reviewed maps for the area you’re going to explore. All ready to go? Almost. If you’re headed for back country travel in Canada, you’ll encounter all sorts of plants, some of which are beautiful to look at but can be highly dangerous to touch.

Stay safe – and rash-free – on your hiking or camping trip by keeping an eye out for these five plants you might come across in the wild:

Poison ivy

Poison ivy plant

Poison ivy is most common in southern Ontario and Quebec, although it can be found in every Canadian province with the exception of Newfoundland. The plant grows as a vine or a shrub along rivers, lakes, meadows, forest openings and beaches.

The leaves change colour throughout the seasons. During the summer, poison ivy is a shiny green, making it easy to blend in with other plants. A simple way to identify poison ivy is to remember the phrase, “Leaves of three? Let it be.”

Avoid it because: Urushiol, a liquid in the plant’s sap, creates a skin rash on anyone who touches the plant.

Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed plant

Present across the country – in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – giant hogweed is a firm, bright green plant that grows in ditches and open woodlands, alongside streams, and in other areas with moist soil.

Typically 2–5m in height, the plant has large leaves with serrated edges and a hollow leaf stalk with dark red spots and prickly hair. Giant hogweed also produces an umbrella-like top that contains small, white flowers.

Avoid it because: The chemicals in giant hogweed make skin sensitive to sunlight after contact and can cause large burns and blisters (along with a visit to the doctor).

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle plant

Spread throughout Canada, stinging nettle typically grows in damp areas like marshes, meadows, pastures and ditches.

Stinging nettle, which grows 1m or more in height, can be identified by clusters of fuzzy white flowers and serrated leaves. These plants have sharp, thin hairs, which operate like hollow hypodermic needles and allow toxins into the skin upon contact.

Avoid it because: Contact with the plant causes itching, numbness and swelling, leading to a painful rash.

Canada moonseed

Canada moonseed berries

Found in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, Canada moonseed appears in thickets, beside streams and along bluffs. It grows as a climbing vine, up to 6m in height.

Canada moonseed has green leaves – containing 3–7 lobes each – and purple-black berries, which some people have unfortunately mistaken for wild grapes. (Canada moonseed has crescent moon-shaped seeds, while grapes contain round seeds.)

Avoid it because: Ingesting Canada moonseed berries is bad news – they lead to convulsions, seizures and possibly death.

Water hemlock

Water hemlock plant

One of the most deadly plants located in most of Canada, water hemlock can be seen near marshes, pastures, rivers and streams.

The plant can grow up to 1–2m in height, and has a hollow, branching stem with a spotted purple pattern. It produces white flowers clustered together in the shape of an umbrella. It’s occasionally mistaken for edible roots such as wild parsnip; pick up a plant field guide to learn how to distinguish the difference.

Avoid it because: Water hemlock is fatal if ingested. It contains cicutoxin, an extremely toxic chemical that can disrupt the central nervous system. If you see someone accidentally consume this plant, treat it as a life-threatening situation and seek emergency medical help immediately – it’s serious and can cause death within as little as 15 minutes.

Being able to identify plants you come across in the backcountry is an excellent skill. Not only can it help you avoid unsafe species, it also gives you all sorts of appreciation for the huge variety of flowers, trees, grasses and bushes you might not otherwise notice.

Use a plant field guide to get familiar with the local species you may encounter as you venture through the lush wilderness of Canada’s backcountry.

Photo credits: John (Flickr), debs-eye (Flickr), John Neon, “Moonseed fruit 1” by Nadiatalent is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, Wendell Smith

You can find information on this invasive plant: HERE

Be careful with these plants … THEY’RE TOXIC!