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This Provincial virtual event will provide a snapshot on the impacts of invasive species in Nova Scotia, along with best management practices and how to prevent further spread!
Topics to be addressed during the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Forum:
The Nova Scotia Invasive Species Forum is hosted by the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council (NSISC) in partnership with the Canadian Council on Invasive Species. The event is being funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
This year, we are pleased to offer discounts to Indigenous peoples, students and speakers:
Check back soon for updates on event details such as session times, speakers and descriptions as information becomes available.
Tickets for the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Forum can be purchased online.
Kristen Noel, NSISC
Rachel Walsh, Clean Annapolis River Project
Rachel Walsh is the Aquatic Ecosystem Programs Lead at Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP), an environmental NGO based out of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. CARP is a leader in implementing community-based solutions and stewardship initiatives to enhance the ecological health of the Annapolis River watershed. Citizen science programs have been a part of CARPs work since the early 1990s and continue to play a big part in data collection today. ‘Fishing for Info Nova Scotia’ is a volunteer based, citizen science angling program that allows for ongoing monitoring and potential early detection of aquatic invasive species, such as chain pickerel and smallmouth bass.
Lauren Bell, Invasive Species Centre
Early detection to new and emerging invasive species is essential in effective management. Since 2015 the Invasive Species Centre has engaged in community science initiatives, utilizing our proven community engagement model to move into new priority areas and utilize education and outreach to facilitate on the ground action. Through this presentation we will overview the important role of community science in effective management and early detection of new and emerging species, and mitigating the spread of established species. This presentation will discuss key steps, successes, and tools for mobilizing effective community action to prevent the spread of invasive species in Canada.
Jordy Thomson, Ecology Action Centre
Jordy will give an overview of EAC’s eelgrass citizen science program. Since 2019, the EAC has been recruiting and training kayakers around Nova Scotia to collect georeferenced images of eelgrass meadows in their local waters using a keel-mounted GoPro synced to a mobile tracking app. The data collected are processed by volunteer students, quality controlled by EAC staff, and made publicly available through various data sharing platforms. The data have contributed to DFO’s national eelgrass mapping project (NETForce) and are currently being used in three research projects led by government and academic scientists. While limited by the opportunistic nature of the data and the time required for image processing, the project has shown that coastal residents can play an important role in increasing knowledge of eelgrass meadow health and generating local interest in eelgrass conservation. In the future, the program may be modified to collect observations of invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) and their impacts on eelgrass beds, which is a pervasive issue in Atlantic Canada.
Kristin Elton, New Brunswick Invasive Species Council
Invasive species data is critical to successful management; having information about what species of invaders are in an area, where they are located, and how extensive their populations are allows for better planning of prevention & management activities. However, there is unfortunately minimal data available in the Maritimes compared to other jurisdictions, and what data does exist is often piecemealed and hard to track down. Join this webinar to learn about the ways the New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI Invasive Species Councils are working to increase data and how you can get involved through community-science.
Between April 29 to May 2nd many areas across the Atlantic region are registered to participate in the 4 day City Nature Challenge (CNC). This global event follows Earth Day, and it is an excellent opportunity to introduce iNaturalist to local communities and for others to improve their iNat skills. The CNC is a great opportunity to share information and to promote a number of data quests. Participants can be encouraged to get out, explore, and actively search for specific taxa in areas of interest to researchers and land managers. They can also be encouraged to record a few notes if they know what is important! Scientists can’t be everywhere. Trained and newbie iNatters can help fill gaps in species distributions and help track geographic and temporal changes.
Kristen Noel, NSISC
Carrie Brown-Lima, NY Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University
Invasive species and climate change are two of the most prominent forms of anthropogenic global change identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Invasive species have pronounced negative impacts on ecosystems and economies, and these impacts may be exacerbated by climate change. But for most invasive species and invaded ecosystems, the outcomes of this interaction remain unknown. This presentation will review the current state of knowledge about how climate change influences invasive species as well as describe the work of the Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change networks that are bringing together researchers and practitioners to address this challenge.
Jenica Allen, Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change
Invasive plants have the capacity to shift their geographic ranges as climate continues to change and land managers rank range-shifting invasive species as a top concern. Many species will disperse to new regions naturally or accidentally, necessitating preventative policy and early detection and rapid response (EDRR) programs. Prevention and EDRR are a cost effective approaches to the invasive plant problem, but require that we know which species to look for and where. Using a translational ecology approach in collaboration with the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management Network and the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), we modeled current and future ranges of nearly 900 terrestrial invasive plants in the continental United States and turned the resulting maps into online visualizations and tools. We will demonstrate dynamic range-shift maps for individual species and a tool that generates lists of plants that may become invasive in a selected geographic area by 2050. The range dynamic visualizations and watch lists can be incorporated into stakeholder planning and prioritization for early detection and rapid response programs and proactive policy to stem the movement of species into new areas.
Donna Crossland, Vice President, Nature Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia featured vast forests dominated by Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) prior to European settlement. Hemlock is the largest evergreen conifer in eastern forests, attaining up to 1 m trunk diameter. This enormous tree is being infested by a minute, invasive, sap-sucking insect, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) (HWA). HWA populations can kill hemlock forests in 4 to 10 years. Vast stores of carbon above and below ground in hemlock forests will be released as CO2 to exacerbate the climate change crisis. We will review methods that may allow legacy hemlock forests to persist and one day thrive again.
Ken Donnelly, Beyond Attitude Consulting
We are all involved in activities that can potentially introduce or spread invasive species. The Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council recently surveyed 700 Nova Scotians about their activities and identified barriers that prevent Nova Scotians from taking action. The research findings will assist in developing effective take-action programs. Some of the more interesting findings are outlined in the presentation.
Amy Russell, Coastal Action
The Atlantic whitefish is one of the most endangered and ancient fish species in Canada. The last remaining wild population is believed to reside in only three lakes in a single watershed in southwestern Nova Scotia, making up its global range. Threats such as illegally introduced fish species have played a major role in the decline as well as in impeding the recovery of Atlantic whitefish populations. To help ensure the survival of the residual population, Coastal Action began the Atlantic Whitefish Recovery Project in 2004 in collaboration with the Atlantic Whitefish Conservation and Recovery Team. Amy will be giving a background on this critically endangered fish and discussing the activities that Coastal Action has been carrying out to manage invasive smallmouth bass and chain pickerel in their habitat.
Cole Vail, Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council
Dog-strangling Vine (DSV), is a species complex made up of two separate species: Vincetoxicum rossicum and V. nigrum. These species pose a problem for at-risk insects such as the monarch butterfly due to its noxious nature, which renders it inedible to the larval life-stage of the monarch as well as several other insect species that may be pollinators, (Averill et al. 2010). This net loss of pollinators would result in a potential loss in biodiversity in both plants and insects, and therefore the overall biodiversity of several areas. Potential control options in Nova Scotia include cutting, herbicide, tarping, and biological control. The summer of 2021 saw a successful community pull of an expanding population of the species, helping to reduce the population by an estimated ~50,000 seed pods while also clearing an estimated 2452 m² of plant cover. In this presentation, Cole will outline the biological and ecological risks associated with Dog Strangling Vine and the potential practice managers could use to control DSV.
Ron Neville, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Black ash, already rare and listed as threatened in Nova Scotia is further threatened with the arrival of the emerald ash borer (EAB). EAB threatens all species of ash in the province. Ron will provide an update of the EAB status in Nova Scotia, starting with its first detection in 2019 up to present including how to monitor your own trees and some management strategies to consider.
Kris Hunter, Atlantic Salmon Federation
Invasive fish species, Chain Pickerel and Smallmouth Bass, were introduced and became established into several southern watersheds in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the late 19th/early 20th century. Since then, these species have spread into other waterbodies through natural expansion and illegal introductions. The distribution and abundance of these invasives has increased in recent years. At the same time native Atlantic Salmon populations have been declining to the point that they are now being considered for listing as a species at risk. While not the sole cause of decline in Atlantic Salmon, invasives species represent a significant threat to salmon persistence, conservation, and recovery. Significant challenges exist as authorities try to manage established populations of these invasives as sportfish while simultaneously trying to curb expansion and combat illegal introductions. We briefly summarize the history and review two recent projects that sought to eradicate illegal introductions, one on Piper Lake on the St. Mary’s River in NS led by the NS Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and another on Miramichi Lake on the Southwest Miramichi River in NB led by a consortium of independent organizations. From these projects it is clear there is a need to be able to limit and respond to new introductions, that management and eradication projects are taxing on the lead organizations, that responses require a specific skill and equipment set, and that there needs to be more education on the threats posed by invasive species, and on the different management strategies and treatments options. Establishment of a quasi-independent rapid response team supported by the government could address these needs and alleviate part of the pressure associated with responding to new introductions.
Noah Hardy, Coastal Action
Join Noah Hardy, Species at Risk and Biodiversity Project Coordinator with Coastal Action to learn about the Snapping Turtle and Eastern Ribbonsnake Stewardship, Research, and Education Project. In addition to highlighting Coastal Action’s recent work, Noah will speak to each species and the roles they play in freshwater ecosystems, as well as common myths surrounding them, and opportunities to engage the public and citizen scientists alike in conservation and recovery actions.
Andrew Lowles, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
The impacts of aquatic invasive species on native flora and fauna are well documented. In Nova Scotia, two invasive fish: Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) are the most widely distributed, and likely the greatest threat to native aquatic species. Difficulties in controlling invasive species populations once they have become established and their ability to rapidly colonize entire watersheds has contributed to the loss of listed At Risk species in the province. In this presentation, I will examine how these invasive species are directly impacting critically endangered Atlantic Whitefish (Coregonus huntsmani) and indirectly threaten Yellow Lampmussel (Lampsilis cariosa).
Tina Fitzgerald, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Global trade is responsible for invasive species introductions and spread worldwide. In recent behavior change research conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), three of the top five invasive species pathways and seven of the top ten desired invasive species prevention behaviors identified in Minnesota related to the movement and possession of live organisms. The DNR initiated work to assess risks associated with trades and activities that rely on the movement and possession of live organisms, including the pet, horticulture, food, bait, and biological supply trades. A workshop and surveys of businesses and hobbyists have provided a better understanding of attitudes, behaviors, barriers, motivators and communication preferences of people involved. Most businesses and hobbyists are generally concerned about and assume responsibility for preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species. With the baseline data collected, the DNR and partners can craft the right messages, use trusted messengers, and use preferred messaging channels to promote the adoption and consistent practice of AIS prevention behaviors by target audiences in Minnesota. The DNR continues to investigate how to build capacity to address trade pathways using behavior change intervention strategies.
Cabomba caroliniana (Gray) is a freshwater macrophyte endemic to South America and the Southeastern United States. Non indigenous distribution includes Australia, Central Europe, and Canada. It is a herbaceous flowering perennial plant, and is popular among aquarists likely contributing to its reputation as a highly invasive species. Cabomba can thrive in a range of water conditions, and readily propagates via fragmentation. Numerous introductory pathways have been identified. Once established this species can quickly homogenize and dominate waterways. It was initially identified in the Halifax region in 2004, and again in 2018.
Thomas Therriault and Susan Roe, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Live aquatic organisms (fishes, invertebrates, and vascular aquatic plants) are imported into Canada daily through the aquarium, water garden, and live food trades with ornamental fishes worth almost $10 million CAD in 2018 alone. However, these organisms-in-trade (OIT) represent a potential risk to Canadian ecosystems as some end users ultimately release these species into the environment where they can become invasive. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently assessed the movement of live OIT into and within Canada, identified aquatic species previously or presently in trade, modeled the behaviour of end users including propagule release, developed spatially explicit estimates of propagule pressure, and identified possible critical control points. A total of 4,305,138 aquarium organisms, representing 741 species, were imported into Canada from 40 source countries during a four-month period in 2018. This assessment set the stage when in March 2021, invasive Zebra and/or Quagga Mussels were found in moss ball products (common in the aquarium trade). DFO, working in close collaboration with federal and provincial counterparts, undertook a national response to stop the import of infested moss balls and developed treatment options for those who had received infested products. Building on this experience and informed by DFO’s recent analyses of the potential of introducing live organisms by the aquarium, water garden and live food trades in Canada, we are developing a national response plan for OIT to enhance inter-departmental and inter-agency coordination upon the detection, identification, and validation of future invaders in this pathway.
Erica Macdonald, Prince Edward Island Invasive Species Council
PEI underwent a pilot project where campers using federal and provincial campsites could exchange out-of-province firewood for locally sourced wood. The PEI Invasive Species Council worked with Parks Canada and the PEI Provincial Government to develop this program to limit the spread of invasive species. Firewood disposal bins were also placed at visitor centres at both vehicular points of entry for campers to dispose of firewood. Campers disposing of wood at the disposal bins received a coupon for a free bundle of firewood when they arrived at their campsites.
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a physically challenging weed species to manage due to its size (2.5 – 3 m in height), the large areas can occupy, and the difficulty in estimating the cost of management due to the lack of literature on small scale management efforts. Therefore, several case studies were undertaken from 2018 thru 2021 to evaluate the cost, difficulty, and efficacy budgeted management plans. Advertising was conducted on Facebook and Instagram to seek out clients interested in management of knotweed on their personal property. Of the 36 cases taken on, one cases that began in 2019 and one in 2020 (Finigan and Orpin) were selected for discussion. Management consisted of cutting at peak height to gain access to the canopy and to scout for hazards. Spot applications of Roundup Concentrate (domestic – 7 g a.e. L -1 H2O) were applied to standing knotweed canopy at peak height and regrowth in the fall. Follow up treatments were conducted to treat any knotweed regrowth in the following growing season(s). After two seasons of herbicide applications, knotweed was scantly visible, line of site through the affected areas was improved, and clients indicated they were satisfied with the outcome. The total of invoices for each client did not exceed 25% of the estimated cost (~ $750 per project), or $1.70 CAD m-1 of knotweed. While this model can successfully cover costs and achieve desired outcomes, Additional modifications may be required for scaling of these strategies for widespread efforts and to ensure long term financial stability.
Jessica Gilice, Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council