New and Next
Invasive Lunch Hour
Webinars on Wednesdays in November and December
Date: November 4, 2020
Title: Global, Canada, and Yukon Perspectives on the Ecology and Management of Invasive Wild Pigs
Issue: How much of a threat are Invasive Wild Pigs to the Yukon
Speaker: Dr. Ryan Brook, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan
Abstract: European Wild boar and their hybrids with domestic pigs, collectively called ‘wild pigs’, are not native to North America but have been introduced to Canada and the U.S. on multiple occasions. They were first introduced to Canada in most provinces and the Yukon, beginning in the 1980s to be farmed for meat and establish shoot farms. Widespread past and on-going releases and escapes created many populations of free-ranging wild pigs across Canada. There have been two documented cases of escapes in the Yukon, but the territory remains wild pig free so far. Wild pigs have been detected in all provinces, but with only one confirmed in Atlantic Canada, with the large majority currently in the Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. They feed on almost anything, including agricultural crops, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and cause intensive environmental damage. Perhaps most importantly, wild pigs may be important reservoirs for diseases that can be transmitted to livestock, pets, wildlife, and humans. Our research has documented the spread of wild pigs across Canada at a rate of over 80,000 km2 per year. This is facilitated by Canadian wild pigs having by far the largest home ranges recorded on earth, high reproductive rates (6 young per litter, continuous reproduction year-round, multiple litters per year), and widespread areas of high quality habitat comprised of a mixture of tree cover, wetlands, and agricultural cropland.
Date: November 18, 2020
Title: Fire and invasives in Alaska's boreal forest
Issue: Are invasive species driving fire danger? Are they spreading in burns and how likely are fire fighters to introduce invasives into a forest burn?
The boreal forest remains one of the few ecosystems on earth where invasive plants have
had relatively little impact. As climate changes, boreal forests face the simultaneous threats of increasing invasive plant abundances and increasing area burned by wildfire. Highly flammable and widespread black spruce forest represents a boreal habitat that may be increasingly susceptible to non-native plant invasion. This talk will discuss 1) the recent research on non-native plant invasions and wildfire in the boreal forests of Alaska, 2) how the introduction patterns and site susceptibility differs from other ecosystems, and 3) opportunities and challenges to reducing the spread into burn areas.
Dr. Katie Spellman is an Assistant Research Professor in plant ecology and education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center. She is a lifelong Alaskan who loves playing outside and keeping Alaska wild and free of invasive speciesDate: November 25, 2020
Date: November 25, 2020
Title: Tracking an Invasive: A Snapshot into Yukon’s Exotic Species AND
Earthworm Invasions in the North
Abstract: The Yukon Conservation Data Centre maintains lists of species known to be exotic in Yukon. These species are primarily plants, however we are increasingly discovering exotic invertebrates (insects, worms, slugs). This presentation will look at what species are found, which are new, and what we can be looking for.
In most of Canada and the northern United States, earthworms were extirpated during the last glaciation. However, non-native earthworms were introduced with the arrival of European settlers and have since being spread across Canada. This has led to substantial impacts on plants, birds, invertebrates, and ecosystem functioning in invaded areas. Yet, little is known about the spread and effects of invasive earthworms in northern Canada. In this presentation, I will discuss my research on earthworm invasions in the boreal forest of northern Alberta, and how it may apply to the Yukon, where we have recently started to investigate these invasions as well.
Speakers: Bruce Bennett, Yukon Conservation Data Centre and Dr. Erin Cameron, Assistant Professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax
Date: December 2, 2020
Title: Don’t Move a Mussel: Riding Mountain National Park’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program
Issue: Zebra Mussels are not reported from the Yukon yet but they pose a big challenge to other jurisdictions. The presentation has a focus on management and success stories at Riding Mountain National Park.
Speaker: Brandice Hollier, A/Aquatic Invasive Species Project Coordinator, Riding Mountain
Abstract: Brandice Hollier’s presentation will provide an overview of Riding Mountain National Park’s AIS Prevention program. The program began in 2015 and has evolved and grown over time. The program includes an inspection and decontamination program as well as education and monitoring programs. The presentation will discuss these programs and the efforts that have gone into preventing the spread of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) to waterbodies within the Riding Mountain National Park.
Spotter's Network Course goes on-line!
YISC's popular two-hour training workshop is now available as an free on-line course. The course is designed to introduce residents, business owners, government workers, students and concerned citizens to invasive species in the Yukon.
Participants will learn to:
1. Understand the impact of invasive species
2. Identify common invasive species in the Yukon
3. Report invasive species using iNaturalist
4. Undertake basic management of invasive species
Use this link to access the course!
Thank you for your support!
We couldn’t do it without the support from volunteers and our funding partners. In addition to our project funding, in 2019 we received a donation of $2000 from Goldcorp which we used to host several spotter’s network workshops. The great staff of Stantec volunteered their time to collect native seed which they spread afterwards at our project site at Range Point.
We had close to 100 volunteers involved in weed-pulling events. More than 200 hours were spent pulling weeds. YISC removed 3 truck loads and 59 garbage bags filled with mostly sweet-clover. Thanks to the crew of the City of Whitehorse for picking up those piles!
Conserving the Integrity of the Alsek Watershed’s Fresh Water
The Yukon Invasive Species Council is pleased to announce that the three-year project “Conserving the Integrity of the Alsek Watershed’s Fresh Water” has been founded under the ECOAction Community Funding Program. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program provides financial support to community groups for projects with an action focus to improve the environment and increase environmental awareness and capacity in the community.
This project addresses conserving the integrity of a Canadian Heritage River, the Alsek, and its tributaries. This will be accomplished by preventing the introduction of aquatic and riparian invasive species. Project activities include risk assessment, weed management, survey and public awareness building.
More specifically, high-risk access points (roadway-freshwater intersections) for Dreissena spp. (zebra and quagga mussels) and Melilotus alba (Sweetclover) into the Alsek Watershed will be identify. In addition, high use water-based recreation areas within the watershed will be identified and together with appropriate land managers (Parks Canada, Champagne and Aishihik First Nation, Village of Haines Junction, etc.) YISC will establish educational signage. YISC will also examine the extent and scope of the dumping of bilge water and fish containers from boats returning from outside of the Alsek watershed (including Haines, Alaska) into lakes around Haines Junction (Dezadeash, Kathleen and Pine).
Mowing and hand removal of sweetclover and other invasive plants will be organized and supported in cooperation with the community.
YISC also will create and deliver elementary school and youth activities on aquatic and riparian invasive species for Haines Junction and surrounding communities. Specific educational activities aim to keep Yukon’s waterways free of invasive species and include these messages:
- Before leaving an area: Drain water from boat, trailer and gear
- Remove all plant parts and mud
- Before entering another water body: Wash all your gear including waders with soapy water.
- Do not release aquarium contents into fresh water
Public awareness building is expected to take place through the whole project but strengthened in a one-day community workshop in Haines Junction on invasive species threats to the Alsek watershed. This community-specific outreach will encourage knowledge transfer in the conservation of the Alsek Watershed’s fresh water. This will facilitate behavioral changes in residents to reduce the risk of invasive species introductions and promote increased communication between YISC, local organizations and community members. The development of future water conservation partnerships is also an anticipated outcome of the workshop.
Project activities for November 2019 to March 2020 include start up meetings with stakeholders, conducting the risk assessment, bringing our education program to the school and plan for outreach and management activities for next summer.
Currently we are seeking a community liaison to implement the school program and deliver outreach events.