Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) does a fantastic job of controlling the wildlife in the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area in Mississauga. There are a wide variety of pests, big and small, from insects to fish to plants to mammals. It’s important to be able to identify invasive and non-invasive species to ensure the environment is well-maintained and pleasant for both the native species and pedestrians. Here is more information on how the organization controls the wildlife in the park:
First of all, what are invasive species?
They are species that do not necessarily belong in a given environment. They take up space and resources intended for the species that do belong in the environment and often drive them out. They are characterized as “being aggressive, having high reproductive rates and lacking predators.”
The Problem with Invasive Species
Not only are these species driving out native species, they additionally have unfortunate effects on human health, the economy and the environment at large.
Some specific problems caused by invasive species include:
- Competing and preying on native species
- Replacing native species through competition and predation
- Disrupting the ecosystems of native species
- Spreading diseases
- Increasing erosion
- Increasing flooding
All of these issues cause a financial burden for landowners, governments and industries which is the underlying problem.
Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
The area that the Credit Valley Conservation focuses their attention on is the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. It is significant in the province of Ontario as it is a unique wetland. They are many different ecosystems including beach, swamp, meadows, marsh and upland forest. These ecosystems are the homes of rare plant species and over two hundred species of birds.
Here are some of the regulations put in place by the CVC to control wildlife:
- Dogs must be kept on a leash and fecal matter must be picked up and properly disposed of.
- Pedestrians must walk on the marked trails to decrease disturbances to plant and wildlife species.
- Within the Conservation Area, cycling is not permitted.
Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer is an example of one of the invasive species in the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. They are a species of beetle originally from Asia. They have spread through the southern regions of Ontario killing North American ash trees in their path. The pests kill 99.9% of all ash trees they infect. They have migrated to the Rattray Marsh because there are a lot of Ash Trees in the area. These trees are extremely important to the local ecosystem so this pest is a significant problem.
Ash Tree Management at Rattray Marsh
CVC is currently in the process of identifying infected ash trees. They are cutting down such trees. The trees that are cut down sometimes remain on the forest floor to provide nutrients for the soil and a habitat for the wildlife. As for the healthy, unaffected trees, the Conservation is inoculating them to ensure they are immune to the ash borers’ effect. They are also planting new ash trees to counteract the pest.
Carp are another invasive species in the Rattray Marsh. They are native to the European and Asian rivers and lakes and were introduced to the Great Lakes in the late nineteenth century.
Carps’ Impact on the Rattray Marsh
- Native fish in the marsh like Catfish and Suckers are forced to compete with Carp for food.
- Carp damages underwater plants that native fish like Pike and Bass use to prey on their food sources.
- By damaging the underwater plants, Carp make the water very murky. This murkiness decreases the amount of sunlight needed for new underwater plants to grow. The damage affects not only the plants, but fish, amphibians and waterfowl.
What CVC is Doing to Block the Carp
The group is putting various traps and barriers where the Rattray Marsh leads into Lake Ontario. CVC is using proven methods to ensure that only carp are being barricaded while non-invasive species can move in and out of the marsh and the lake. The group is only using these methods when they know carp are migrating.
Invasive Plant Species
The following is a list of invasive plant species that are present in the Rattray Marsh:
- Garlic Mustard
- Norway Maple
- Giant Reed
- Rough Manna Grass
These species, like carp and emerald ash borers, are competing with native plant species for resources and space on the forest floor or in the tree cover. It is concerning because there is a declining rate of native plant species in the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. The CVC is actively working to remove these species by cutting small shrubs, removing bark from trees, brushing on herbicides and placing plastic on selected plants.
This is only a portion of the work CVC does to control the wildlife in the Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. If you suspect any invasive species on your property, contact Pestend today. We specialize in wildlife control and are happy to lend our expertise and services.