Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

July 19, 2011 08:30 ET

Media Advisory: Water Soldier on the March!

OFAH and Volunteers on the Watch for Invasive Plant in Trent River

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 19, 2011) -

Media Are Invited to Attend Event for Photo and Video Opportunities and Free Lunch

What: Monitoring for water soldier
When: Wednesday July 20 from 9am - 4 pm.
Where: Cenotaph Boat launch off Highway 30 on Monument Rd
Lunch will be provided for volunteers and media

Staff and volunteers with the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP), are conducting surveillance for water soldier on the Trent Severn Waterway near the Hamlet of Trent River this week. It's the third year that efforts to eradicate the invasive plant have been undertaken. Following the watch event, eradication involving physical harvesting and the application of a herbicide will take place.

"If not controlled now, water soldier could have a significant impact on the river for recreational uses such as swimming and boating. In the bigger picture, water soldier, like hundreds of other invasive species, could negatively affect Ontario's biodiversity," says Matt Smith, OFAH Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Liaison.

Water soldier (Stratiotes aloides) is a common ornamental water garden and aquarium species that is indigenous to Europe and Central Asia. It looks similar to aloe but its leaves have sharp, serrated edges that can cut swimmers. The plant's foliage grows in dense mats that block sunlight from reaching low-lying native vegetation, and it can grow so thick that boat passage becomes difficult or impossible.

Water soldier was most likely unintentionally introduced to the Trent Severn Waterway, possibly through a flooded water garden or as part of a discarded aquarium. Like many invasive species, the plant can be purchased at garden and pet stores in Ontario. It was first discovered in Canada in the Trent River in 2008. Since its discovery, the ISAP has continued yearly efforts to address the presence of water soldier along the Trent Severn Waterway, with the goal of eradicating the species or at least preventing its spread.

The ISAP is a partnership of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Anyone sighting water soldier or another aquatic or terrestrial invasive species may call the ISAP hotline, a phone service that callers can use to report sightings of invasive species or request information, or visit www.invadingspecies.com.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member clubs, the OFAH is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.

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