Invasive species are plants, animals, or other organisms that are growing outside of their country or region of origin and are out-competing or even replacing native organisms.
Invasive species have been introduced in the Lake Winnipeg watershed. Humans are most often directly responsible for introducing a species to a new region, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Common species include the common carp, rusty crayfish, spiny water flea and purple loosestrife. These species have a distinct advantage over our native species whose populations are kept in check by native predators, competitors or diseases. For example, a single purple loosestrife plant can produce over 300,000 seeds, choking out native plants. Fish, birds, and animals rely on native plants to feed, seek shelter, and rear their young.
How do Invasive Species Affect Water?
Invasive species can come from bait buckets, fish tanks, and non-native plants. They can take over habitats reducing biodiversity and causing severe problems such as reducing and irreversibly altering habitats for native plants and species. Prevention, early detection, and rapid response are critical for saving the Lake Winnipeg watershed as biological invasions contribute to species extinction and loss of biodiversity.