Hydrilla, just one of the four big invasive aquatic plants that poses a threat to Alberta as it has been found in neighbours areas of the United States. Image: ALMS

Speaker hopes for help looking for invasive water plants

Battle River Watershed Alliance hosts annual World Water Day event in Ponoka

Quite often, the discussion around water focuses on the quality, but there is an enemy out there that can be of great concern when it comes to a sustainable eco-system.

As part of World Water Day on March 22, the Battle River Watershed Alliance hosted an information evening at the Ponoka Royal Canadian Legion that included a talk regarding invasive water plants and how important it is to distinguish them from those that are native and helpful.

Brad Peter, executive director of the Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS), spoke to the crowd of around 30 about what his organization does as well as on invasive aquatic plants — some of which have found a foothold in the province.

ALMS performs water quality monitoring, on contract, with a number of volunteers providing both their labour and boats and Peter explained it was simply a natural progression for the group to get in on watching for invasive plants.

“We do water quality monitoring over time and track the health of those water bodies. We found that while there was talk out there about invasive plants in the water, no one was doing any work or data collection,” he said.

“It really wasn’t a topic that was on people’s minds, with many just figuring it was seaweed or it didn’t matter because you can’t really see it. So, we began doing this plant monitoring back in 2014.”

Peter noted there are about 2,200 named lakes in the province, but just 800 fish-bearing lakes, as opposed to the 100,000 that hold fish in Saskatchewan.

“That means there is a lot of pressure — from fishing and development — on our lakes,” he added.

Because of that added pressure, it’s even more important to keep invasive plants out of the water system stated Peter.

There are four types of invasive aquatic plants Peter explained ALMS were primarily looking for — Eurasian Milfoil, Flowering Rush, Curly Leaf Pondweed and Hydrilla.

“We were looking primarily for these due to the fact these plants are most commonly found in a number of the nearby jurisdictions as well as one already having some establishment in the province,” he said.

“Among the issues that these plants can cause are troubles with the in and out flows of water, specifically when it comes to pipes, a reduction in bio-diversity as well as light penetration, no one likes boating through a growth of plants or taking them off the motor constantly and they can out-compete the native species plus eat up the majority of oxygen in the water when it dies off causing problems for fish and other animals.”

Another reason for doing the invasive plant collection was to develop a field guide to help identify both native and invasive plants.

“It can be difficult and tricky to distinguish between native and invasive plants, considering they can look extremely similar,” Peter said.

“For example, looking at the invasive eurasian milfoil and the native northern milfoil, it’s easy to mis-identify them. For this specific species, you have to look at the number of leaflet pairs in order to tell them apart.”

The field guide is available through a free download on the ALMS website (www.alms.ca) and looking under ‘Programs’ for invasive plants. There is also an app available called EDDMaps (www.eddmaps.org) that can help locate and track invasive plant species occurrences plus allow users to record their observations.


Brad Peter, ALMS executive director, speaks about how important it is to Alberta’s waterways and eco-systems that people ensure no invasive plant species make their way into the province. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Just Posted

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

PHOTO: Ponoka’s St. Augustine JV girls win volleyball league

The team had a great finals winning in two sets in Ponoka

Ponoka’s annual holiday gala, fundraiser just days away

2018 Festival of Trees in support of operations at the Ponoka hospital set for Nov. 15 to 17

Ponoka’s senior Broncs lost a tough consolation to Wetaskiwin

Penalties and errors in play affected Ponoka, which ended up deflating the team’s momentum

Woman in theft of CN truck from Ponoka pleads guilty

Sentencing not set as the woman heads into intensive one year drug treatment program

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Most Read