GET RID OF THE RUSH: FLOWERING RUSH EDUCATION AND REMOVAL INITIATIVE

Category: 2017, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Water

GRANTEE

North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance

LOCATION

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About

Flowering rush is an invasive aquatic plant present in Isle Lake. First reported in 2012 along the south shore of the lake, it has since been documented along the north shoreline. Two surveys in 2015 and 2016 cataloged the severity of the infestation; from 2015 to 2016, the infestation almost doubled from 8 to 15 km of shoreline. As of 2016, approximately 22.5 hectares has been infested with flowering rush.

Flowering rush poses a threat to Isle Lake from both an ecological and social perspective. Its rapid reproduction and establishment displaces native plant species and impedes water flow, thus affecting dissolved oxygen levels and aquatic ecosystem health. Unlike native plant species, flowering rush is resistant to environmental changes (e.g. fluctuating water levels). It also interferes with recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming.

The community is very concerned about the negative impacts flowering rush poses to Isle Lake as well as the acute risk of spread into Lac Ste Anne and the greater Sturgeon River watershed. There is also concern that local residents may remove the aquatic plant incorrectly, resulting in the spread of the infestation.

A public education and action initiative is needed to provide timely and accurate information to the community regarding basic facts about flowering rush, the extent of the infestation in Isle Lake, appropriate methods of removal, and avenues for the community to become actively involved in removal. This proposed initiative will not only increase community awareness about flowering rush, but will also provide an opportunity for the community to become actively involved in preventing the spread of the invasive species. Metrics to determine community awareness and recruitment/documentation of community participation in actively managing the infestation will be used to evaluate the success of this initiative.