Greetings from the Invasive Species Centre 
As you are reading this, the signs of spring may be around you- perhaps a small shoot of new life peeking out from the snowbank, a new bird song, or a different feel of the sun on your face. Around the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) as well, new shoots of life are emerging, from new microgrant projects to assist communities with their work on invasives, a new song at many presentations in the community, and at the International Conference on Aquatic Invasive SpeciesThere is a renewed feeling of hope as we work together with many partners on new and continuing invasive species projects.
The ISC continues to work in three main areas: Catalysing Action, Sharing Knowledge, and Building the Business Case for Investment. Under Catalysing Action, we are delighted to support great community work on invasives through the 2022 Microgrants For Ontario program. We continue to share knowledge on invasives through the annual Invasive Species Forum – if you missed the February event, presentation recordings are now available.​ On Building the Business Case for Investment, we are working with a number of partners on new and innovative funding mechanisms for invasive species, and developing cost and benefit analyses of invasives.
At the Invasive Species Centre, we are always looking for new projects, partnerships and ideas to help protect Canada’s land and water from invasive species. Check out the ISC Community Science Program to learn about the many ways you can join in! 
Please send me an email with any ideas or suggestions at:

Best wishes,
Sarah Rang
Executive Director, Invasive Species Centre
Program Updates
The Invasive Species Centre is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Microgrants For Ontario program. The Invasive Species Centre awarded 60 microgrants of $1,000 to $5,000 each to catalyze positive action and support invasive species education, community action, and management planning in Ontario. 
We are pleased to support the exciting microgrant project work, and thank the individuals, groups and organizations that take action to help prevent and manage invasive species in Ontario,” says Sarah Rang, Executive Director at the Invasive Species Centre. “Work done at the community level is critical to protecting lands and water from the impacts of invasive species.” 
An invasive species is an organism that causes, or is likely to cause, ecological, economic, or social harm in a new environment. Invasive species reduce the diversity of plant and animal species and can put native species at risk. They do this by crowding-out native species or competing for resources like light, water, and nutrients, preying on native species, or acting as carriers for diseases or parasites that could spread to native species. Find out more about the impacts of invasive species here
The Invasive Species Centre would like to thank the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Fund for their support. 
Congratulations to the recipients of the Invasive Species Centre 2022 Microgrants For Ontario program. They can be viewed by clicking the link below.
Are you an Ontario Phragger planning to manage invasive Phragmites populations?

Did you know that native Phragmites can often look very similar to their invasive counterparts?

Do you want to protect native species and prevent unnecessary use of time and resources?

The Green Shovels Collaborative is pleased to be offering free access to DNA Screening kits and services for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Native Phragmites are a normal part of healthy ecosystems. They grow alongside native plants and allow normal habitat structure and function to be maintained. Invasive Phragmites, though often similar in appearance to their native counterparts, can develop into dense monocultures that crowd out native species, including native Phragmites, and can cause loss of habitat and biodiversity. Proper identification of invasive Phragmites not only ensures the protection of native species but will also prevent you from wasting time and resources!

Land managers in Ontario who suspect their land has been overtaken by invasive Phragmites can view the guidelines to see how they can receive a free DNA Screening Kit from the Invasive Species Centre.

The Green Shovels Collaborative is a network that supports projects which address invasive species in ways that encourage job creation, economic recovery and environmental progress. Green Shovels is a coalition between several like-minded conservation organizations and represents millions of Canadians including cottagers, landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, anglers, and hunters.

Find out more about the Green Shovels’ strategies for coordinated Phragmites management in Ontario here.
Through The Invasive Phragmites Control Fund, The Green Shovels Collaborative seeks to support groups or organizations implementing Phragmites control activities by providing grants for projects in Ontario. The Fund was created to support Ontario Phraggers and provide an easy-to-access and easy-to-report-on grant opportunity. This year, The Invasive Species Centre on behalf of The Green Shovels Collaborative received $47,000 from The Ontario Community Environment Fund to engage communities in removing invasive Phragmites to protect biodiversity, infrastructure, and species at risk.

The Invasive Phragmites Control Fund funded 11 projects in Ontario.
A few examples included a Tommy Thompson Park Terrestrial Phragmites Management project which will chemically treat 0.4 ha of Phragmites in the Toplands habitats. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is implementing the Tommy Thompson Park Phragmites Management Plan with the goal of eradicating aquatic and terrestrial phragmites (approximately 6 ha) from this unique wilderness by 2026.

The Manitoulin Phragmites Project was also funded, which has been controlling Phragmites for six years and has controlled over 90 sites with 60 sites now maintained by volunteers. By winter 2021, most of the easy-to-get-to sites had been managed so for 2022 the control program will shift focus toward 54 hectares of Phragmites at 22 sites on the island, with 16 of them only accessible by boat. With funding to support the repair of the project’s motorboat and some funds for a new canoe, the Manitoulin Phragmites Project will be able to safely transport more volunteers to work sites and haul more Phragmites out of the water for years to come.

To learn more about the Manitoulin Phragmites Project, including opportunities to help with control in 2022, contact the Project by emailing

Click the link below to learn more about the 11 projects funded in 2022.
Invasive species, by definition, cause significant environmental, social or economic damages. The economic toll of these invasions is steep. In Ontario alone, municipalities and conservation authorities are estimated to spend $50.8 million per year on invasive species. Analyzing the impacts created by invasives can aid in the creation of management protocols and policies to help with education and the reduction of negative effects.

Invacost is a global, online database created to harmonize data on the cost of worldwide biological invasions. This living, publicly available database uses a systematic, standardized methodology to collect information from peer-reviewed articles and grey literature. As a living database, updates are continuously released, allowing for up-to-date information. This database provides an information base for global research, management efforts and data-driven policymaking. 

The report analyses data from the last 50 years to assess the amount of money spent on damages caused by invasive species. The estimated cost of invasive species is astronomically high, with a total global expenditure of 1.288 trillion USD since 1970 with 162 billion spent in 2017 alone. 
Species Updates
This moth has a new name! Spongy moth is now the accepted common name of the formerly named Ldd moth. This new name has been officially adopted by both the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) and the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Organizations in Canada and the United States are encouraged to use the name spongy moth in communications about this invasive forest pest.

The previous common name (‘gypsy moth’) was removed from the ESC’s list of accepted common names in July of 2021 for its use of a derogatory slur for the Romani people. Common names can serve to facilitate communications between scientists and the public, however, names that are unwelcoming to marginalized communities are in opposition to this goal.

The new name, spongy moth, acknowledges instead a characteristic of the insect – namely the conspicuous spongy egg masses that it produces. The change will not only introduce a more respectful common name for the insect but will also serve to describe it more accurately. Another advantage of the new English name spongy moth is it aligns with the French name Spongieuse.

The name change was initiated by the ESA’s Better Common Names Project. This project was developed to address species' common names which do not align with the goal of better communication such as those with derogatory meaning. These changes can start with the public. If you know a common name that you think should be changed based on the project’s guidelines, you can fill out this short form.

Please help in celebrating the spongy moth’s new name by adopting it for use by your organization or in everyday language!
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) may be more cold tolerant than we realized! New research ‘Plasticity drives extreme cold tolerance of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) during a polar vortex’ into phenotypic plasticity indicates they could survive temperatures that are much colder.

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to change its traits in response to the environment without the need for changes at the genetic level. Extreme phenotypic plasticity of cold tolerance allowed the EAB in this new study to adapt to Canadian winters and survive temperatures as low as -50 C! These findings mean that EAB have the potential to survive some of the harshest winters in regions where their host trees grow.

This research will be discussed on May 3rd in ISC's webinar "Plasticity drives extreme cold tolerance of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) during a polar vortex". Click here to register!

Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), which is one of the most damaging invasive plants in the United States, was discovered in Short Hills Provincial Park in southern Ontario in 2019. While this small population is actively monitored and under official control, the possibility of Japanese stiltgrass escaping Short Hills Provincial Park remains a concern.

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF; Lycorma delicatula) is lurking dangerously close to the Canadian border. Though spotted lanternfly has yet to be found in Canada, they have been confirmed in neighbouring U.S. States, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Experts are especially concerned about these insects hitchhiking their way from New York into Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, which is Canada’s largest wine region. 
In the summer of 2021, several sightings of invasive jumping worms were reported in Ontario, predominantly in home gardens. Jumping worms can be introduced into urban gardens through mulch, compost, nursery stocks, or potting mixes from areas with established infestations, and have the potential to cause major harm to surrounding forest areas. Given their relatively recent spread into Ontario, early detection and rapid response (EDRR) is critical to managing the Canadian jumping worm population. So, if you see a jumping worm, the best way you can help is to report it! 
We have been busy adding many new species profiles to our website!

Check out our Meet the Species page to see profiles on goldfish, Red-eared sliders, Tree of Heaven and more!
The ISC has been working hard to implement their very own Don’t Let It Loose campaign!

The ‘it’ in our slogan refers to domestic pets like fishes, invertebrates, aquatic plants, reptiles, amphibians, or mammals that can become invasive when released into natural environments. This campaign has been aimed at informing pet owners of the threats their animals may pose to the natural environment if released including spreading disease, reducing biodiversity by outcompeting native species and reducing critical habitats for species at risk.

As part of this work, ISC’s Colin Cassin and Jenna White recently participated in two podcasts that are centred on pet ownership. Animals at Home, hosted by Dillon Perron, has a wide audience of reptile owners and For the Reef, hosted by Mitch Dender and Ian Bell features discussions on aquarium care for hobbyists. 

Podcasts are a novel form of outreach for ISC and a medium that allows audiences to listen to the intrinsic details of invasive species work in a relatively informal setting. Click the link to learn about more podcasts that the ISC's Organisms in Trade team has been involved in!
Monitoring Forest Health With The Power Of Community Engagement 
Updates have been added to the Community Science Tree Check Form! The Tree Check Form provides a simple guide to look for signs and symptoms of invasive pests while surveying trees in your community. The Form is specifically designed so everyone can help monitor the health of Canada’s trees, regardless of background knowledge or experience. Each Form will allow you to submit up to five reports and can be submitted as many times as needed. Remember to snap a photo of the egg mass, tree, or insect you are reporting to upload with the report.

Canada’s valued forests and urban areas are threatened by invasive forest insects and pathogens that impact these ecosystems, the economy, and society, including human health. Prevention, detection, and monitoring strategies, including outreach and community monitoring programs, provide high return-on-investment when managing invasive species.

The goal of this project is to empower Canadians with the knowledge and tools to monitor the health of their trees and increase priority pest surveillance efforts in Canada through community data collection.

Public reports help create a better understanding of the status of invasive species in Canada, both where species are present as well as areas they are not currently found.

With these updates you can now:

  1. Report on the health of your boxwoods
  2. Report the presences/absence of egg masses on various hard surfaces surrounding your trees

Monitoring boxwood health will further increase the capacity to detect the spread of the invasive boxwood moth. Reporting both healthy and unhealthy trees is important and provides valuable information.

Additionally, egg masses are not only found on the trees themselves but can be deposited on surrounding surfaces as well (i.e. on outdoor furniture, house siding, vehicles, etc.). Adding additional egg mass locations to the report will expand our ability to detect insect pests such as the spongy moth (formerly the Ldd moth) and the spotted lanternfly. It will also allow community members to first be aware of their surroundings by looking for these egg masses around their trees.

Last April, CBC Up North’s Jonathan Pinto spoke to Lauren Bell, Program Manager at the Invasive Species Centre, about the Community Science Tree Check program. Listen here to learn more about how you can help monitor the health of trees in your neighbourhood.
With summer on the horizon, many people are looking forward to spending time enjoying Canada’s many freshwater lakes and rivers.

Boating can be a fun way to enjoy the water, but recreational watercrafts can also act as carriers for invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels, introducing them to previously undisturbed ecosystems. These invasive mussels filter plankton out of the water depleting this food source and outcompete native species for resources. The increased sunlight penetration can lead to excessive plant growth and algal blooms. These mussels can also colonize surfaces, blocking water intake pipes, boat motors and more.

You can do your part in protecting aquatic ecosystems by learning how to properly clean, drain, and dry your boat before moving between water bodies. See the guidelines outlined by the Government of Ontario here.

In Ontario, new watercraft regulations came into effect under the Ontario Invasive Species Act on January 1, 2022. These updates mean it is now mandatory to take reasonable measures to ensure the removal of any aquatic plants, animals or, algae from the watercraft when transporting it over land. Click the link to learn more or read the full update here.

Other provinces such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have their own measures in place such as mandatory boat inspection stations. It is your responsibility to know the rules and regulations in the province you are travelling in order to protect Canada’s waters from aquatic invasive species.

If you will be using your boat in Western Canada this summer, look out for CD3 units around lakes near you! The CD3 deployment is a part of a bigger effort to curb the spread of aquatic invasive species in order to protect species at risk throughout the Southern Prairie Priority Area. The CD3 unit contains a wet/dry vacuum, air compressor, 3 hand tools, and lighting for public use for boat cleaning. The CD3 unit is powered by solar panels and its tools are remotely monitored by sensors.

Let’s all do our part this summer in protecting our waters from aquatic invasives so that they can be enjoyed for many generations to come!
Invasive Species Centre Turns 10
This year, the ISC celebrated 10 years since its inception and working with partners to prevent invasive species in Canada's land and water! The ISC commemorated its 10-year anniversary through special activities including:

  • Launching The 2022 Invasive Species Centre Awards to celebrate “10 Years Together”. The awards will be given annually and will recognize and celebrate the leadership and commitment of individuals or organizations who help keep Canada’s land and water free from invasive species.

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the progress that the Invasive Species Centre, partners, collaborators, alumni, and communities served have made together over the past 10 years, with a vision forward to the next 10 years and beyond!
A Look Back on Past Events
The 2022 Forum 'Action, Innovation, and Outreach’ took place February 1-3 and featured over 50 expert speakers from conservation, environmental and Indigenous agencies and organizations across Canada, the United States and Europe.

Over 500 participants tuned in over the course of the 3-day event, attending sessions on invasive species vectors, pathways, and threats; risks, impacts, and innovative solutions; ecosystem resilience; forest, aquatic, and plant invasives; municipal and indigenous community updates; and education, outreach, and community science.

The Forum also celebrated nominees and winners of the inaugural Invasive Species Centre Awards, recognizing the leadership and commitment of individuals or organizations who help keep Canada’s land and water free from invasive species.

Session recordings from the 2022 Invasive Species Forum are available on the ISC’s YouTube channel.
Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) took place February 28- March 4, 2022. ISAW is a collaborative social media campaign focused on raising awareness about invasive species and how to protect Canada’s natural spaces.

For many years, the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network, Forests Ontario, Invading Species Awareness Program, Invasive Species Centre, and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council have partnered to develop ISAW campaign resource materials for Ontario and Canada that have been used by dozens of organizations across the country.
The goal of ISAW is to discuss invasive species and their impacts with Canadians and share information to help prevent the spread of invasive species. We can all contribute to protecting Canada’s land and water,” said Sarah Rang, Executive Director at the Invasive Species Centre.

This initiative also raised significant awareness of invasive species. ISAW was featured on CBC in an article informing citizens how to protect Canada’s ecosystems from invasive species. Additionally, the importance of the event was highlighted by various groups such as the City of Mississauga and Ducks Unlimited, with the goal of spreading knowledge of Invasive Species across Canada.

Overall, the social media campaign has a reach of over 1.2 million people in North America!

ISAW will occur again next year, February 20-26, 2023, so stay connected to learn more!
The International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS) is the most comprehensive international forum to address new and emerging issues related to aquatic invasive species in freshwater, marine and estuarine environments.
The 2022 Conference took place April 19-22, 2022.

The conference featured presentations from experts around the world including keynote speakers who touched on topics ranging from economic impacts, risk analysis, climate change and more.

View the program here for more information on the exciting sessions!
Upcoming Events
The Invasive Species is collaborating with experts in the field of invasive species management, prevention, and monitoring to discuss different topics each month.

On May 3, join the ISC's webinar "Plasticity drives extreme cold tolerance of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) during a polar vortex" to learn more about new research that indicates emerald ash borer (EAB) can adapt to Canadian winters and can tolerate extremely cold winter temperatures (-50°C).

Keep up to date with upcoming and past ISC webinars through our website and YouTube channel.
Other Invasive Species Centre News
The Invasive Species Centre staff is a dedicated team who strive to address the threats of invasive species with diligence, passion, and creativity.

We bring diverse expertise and experience in natural science, policy, economics, administration, communications, graphic design, and education.

The ISC also benefits from the talents of interns, students, and recent graduates who join the team for placements of up to one year, as well as technical experts who join on a project-by-project basis. As a result, this allows the ISC to continue to be innovative in our sector.

The Invasive Species Centre offices and labs are co-located in Sault Ste. Marie with the Great Lakes Forestry Centre, a world-class science facility run by Natural Resources Canada.
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