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Help protect Alberta from the destructive impacts of Invasive Species

Help protect Alberta from the destructive impacts of Invasive Species

Report Invasive Species Sightings

Report Invasive Species on EDDMapS

  • Real-time tracking of invasive species occurrences
  • Local and national distribution maps
  • Electronic early detection of reporting tools
  • Library of identification and management information
EDDMaps logo

DOWNLOAD THE SMARTPHONE APP

The EDDMaps app (Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System) brings the power of EDDMaps to your smartphone. Now you can submit invasive species observations directly with your smartphone from the field. These reports are uploaded to EDDMaps and e-mailed directly to verifiers for review.

Please note that EDDMapS has moved nationally! The previous EDDMapS Alberta app will eventually be phased out. Please download and replace it with the new EDDMapS app to keep reporting invasive species!

Alberta Invasive Species Council
Grow me Instead

Make a difference in your community and commit to be Plantwise today! Help us protect our province from the impacts of invasive plants through horticulture and join the movement to be invasive-free across Alberta.

Here are some things you can do to make a difference in your community:

Grow me instead3
  • Select non-invasive plants. The Grow Me Instead brochure on our publications page can help you choose only non-invasive plants.
  • Be suspicious of exotic plants, bulbs, and seeds promoted as ‘fast spreaders,” “vigorous self-seeders,” and/or “drought-resistant.” Invasive plants often have the very characteristics we seek the most in plants.
  • Before choosing a plant to grow, check reliable sources of information such as AISC’s invasive species fact sheets.
  • Don’t purchase a plant unless it is properly labeled, and you know exactly what it is. Unfortunately, private plant sales and swaps often involve invasive species.
  • Don’t use wildflower mixes, as they often have invasive species seeds in them.
  • When selecting birdseed, always make sure the seed mix clearly lists the ingredients, as many contain invasive plants. Or, consider creating your own seed mixes to be sure of the seed ingredients.
  • Encourage others to be PlantWise. Reach out to local plant suppliers, landscapers and landscape architects, gardening and stewardship event organizers and clubs, social media and blogs, neighbors, and family and friends to educate them about being PlantWise and using only non-invasive plants to promote healthy, non-invasive gardens.
  • When disposing of invasive plants, ensure to double black bag it. Never put invasive species in the compost.

Invasive plant control

There are many ways to manage and eradicate invasive plants, and it’s best to choose a species-appropriate control method since invasive plants are opportunistic and aggressively out-compete other species. Check for any underlying conditions such as bare or compact soil that may lead to spread. Take measures to keep your soils healthy and replace invasive plants with a diverse range of non-invasive alternatives that will attract and increase wildlife biodiversity while balancing out the ecology of your site.

Disposal of invasive plants

Contact your local landfill, regional district, or invasive species regional committee to learn how invasive plants are disposed of in your community. In general, make sure you do not let your invasive plants go to seed. Be sure first to clip off all mature flower and seed heads. Add these and other plant parts to a double black plastic bag. Add bags to your garbage – DO NOT COMPOST.

Encourage others to be PlantWise

Reach out to local plant suppliers, landscapers and landscape architects, gardening and stewardship event organizers and clubs, social media and blogs, neighbors, and family and friends – educate them about PlantWise – encourage others to use only non-invasive plants and promote healthy, non-invasive gardens.

Alberta Invasive Species Council
DONTMOVEFIREWOOD

Buy Local, Burn Local

Transporting firewood may seem harmless; however, moving firewood from one location to another can inadvertently move invasive species to new areas with disastrous results for both our forests and our urban trees.

Don’t let firewood with no holes or signs of pests fool you, as tiny eggs and fungal spores are impossible to see sometimes.

The movement of firewood poses a substantial risk to Canada’s economy and environment, and a mass infestation of an invasive species can limit your ability to enjoy the environment around you and negatively affect the property value of your home. Canada has 347 million ha of forest cover; that is almost 9% of the world’s forests!

Prevention is the most cost-effective method for managing the negative impacts of non-native organisms.

Be aware of firewood movement restrictions -moving firewood from places where regulated pests have been found can be a violation of the Plant Protection Act, with penalties of up to $50,000 and/or prosecution. Be aware of movement restrictions that may be in place before you move wood or wood products.

  • Moving firewood out of regulated areas is prohibited.
  • Never bring firewood to a National Park; instead, buy it on the Parks Canada property.
  • It is against both Canada and U.S. laws to bring untreated firewood across our common border.
  • Best to buy from a source that is local to where you are going to burn it. Don’t Move Firewood more than 80 km; less than 20 km is even better.
  • Trees in our forests and urban landscapes are dead and dying from invasive species and forest pests, and we don’t know what will be the next invasive insect or disease.
Alberta Invasive Species Council
Clean Drain Dry Your Gear

Clean Drain Dry

Clean + Drain + Dry all boats and equipment to help reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms to Alberta waters.

Boats, other watercraft and associated equipment are often vectors in introducing invasive species into the province’s lakes, streams and wetlands. Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra or quagga mussels and even aquatic plants, can be spread from one waterbody to another via boats, other watercraft or associated equipment that has not been properly cleaned, drained and dried between uses.

With jurisdictions across North America struggling with the impacts of this aquatic invasion, the need for boaters and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts to pay attention and to take action is growing.

The microscopic forms of these mussels, called veligers, can survive in a watercraft’s standing water for days. If this standing water mixes with water in the waterbody you are boating on, that waterbody may potentially become infested.

To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, remember the following:

Clean

  • Clean and inspect watercraft, trailers and gear
  • Remove all plants, animals, and mud at the access area or dock
  • At home, soak your gear in a bleach solution for at least one minute
  • Rinse, scrub or pressure wash your boat with hot tap water preferably 50 degrees Celsius, away from storm drains, ditches and waterways.

Drain – on land, before leaving the waterbody, drain all water from:

  • Bait buckets
  • Ballasts
  • Bilges
  • Coolers
  • Internal compartments/Livewells, etc.
  • Pull the Plug! In Alberta. It is illegal to transport your watercraft with the drain plug still in place. Those who fail to comply may be subject to a court appearance and fined up to $100,000.

Dry

  • Dry the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry
  • Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.
Alberta Invasive Species Council
Dont let it loose 2020

Don't Let It Loose!

Some of the most serious invasive species were originally sold as pets or plants for water gardens and aquariums.

Some people believe that when they don’t want their pets any longer, or it has become too much for them to care for, the best thing to do for the animal or plant is to release it into the ‘wild.’ Unfortunately, these exotic species often thrive and reproduce in this new environment and have the potential to become invasive. Once established, they can take over their new habitat, reducing native populations, changing the structure of the ecosystem.

Even if your aquatic pet is known to be native to the local environment, it should still never be released, as it may introduce diseases or invasive parasites into the local ecosystem.

Invasive plants can have just as much of an impact as invasive animals! Invasive aquatic plants can reduce habitat for native plants, which threatens species of insects, fish, animals, and other plants that depend on native plants. As invasive plants begin rapidly reproducing, they reduce the overall biological diversity of ecosystems, affect water quality, and interfere with recreational opportunities.

Releasing pets into the wild is inhumane, illegal, and can cause irreversible damage to the environment.

Under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act, a prohibited species list has been created that has 52 species of invasive fish, plants, and invertebrates, all of which are now illegal to be imported, sold, transported, or possessed in Alberta. Individuals releasing fish into public waters can face penalties up to $100,000 and a year in prison.

 

What Should I Do Instead?

Never release your plants and animals into the wild or dump aquariums or water garden debris into rivers, streams, lakes, or storm sewers!

Unwanted pets can be disposed of humanely by returning them to pet stores, donating to schools, science centers, zoos, community organizations, or given away. If all else fails, have a qualified veterinarian euthanize the animal in a humane manner; it’s far kinder than letting it starve to death in the wild or destroy the homes of native animals and plants.

Make sure to bury your fish after it passes away, as flushing it down the toilet can lead to the spread of unwanted diseases.

Dry and freeze unwanted aquatic plant material and add it to non-composted trash.

Alberta Invasive Species Council

PlayCleanGo

Invasive species have many pathways of spread. For instance, weed seeds can be easily transferred to the soil from mud on boots or vehicles, and some weeds seeds have special hooks to help them hitch a ride on clothing or pets.

Being aware of these pathways of spread can help reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean your belongings and knowing the source of the things purchased, we can begin to reduce the chance of inadvertently spreading something that could harm those things we cherish.

Whether walking, hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or OHV, it’s important to make sure you don’t accidentally move invasive species from place to place. Everyone needs to be part of the fight against invasive species, and you can help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals by following these few simple steps.

PlayCleanGo2020
PlayCleanGo Spraying

Use local firewood and weed-free or certified hay – Play

  • Burn firewood where you buy it and don’t move wood to your campsite, as you may be inadvertently moving invasive species in the wood. Burn all of the wood you bring or leave it with the campsite host.
  • When horseback riding, use Certified Weed Free Forage. When using hay for other purposes and weed-free hay is not available, use straw because it is less likely to carry weed seeds.

Stay on designated trails – Play

  • Stay on the designated trail when walking, hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or all-terrain vehicle.

Come clean

  • Before leaving home, take a little time to inspect and remove dirt, plants, and bugs from clothing, boots, gear, pets, and vehicles.

Leave clean – Clean – Go

  • Before leaving, inspect your belongings and remove any dirt, plants, or bugs. Invasive plant seeds can be stuck on you, your pets, or equipment. Likewise, pests that attack trees can hide in firewood that you bring home. Weed seeds in infested hay can be blown offsite as you move down the road or left behind in animal waste.

See more information at www.playcleango.ca

Alberta Invasive Species Council