Native plant and wildlife species need our help in the fight against invasives. Invasive species are not native to the Credit River watershed and have negative effects on native species, ecosystems and the economy. These quick facts will help you to reduce the impact of invasives on your property and in the Credit River watershed:

Can I take invasive plants to the landfill or include them in my curb-side garbage?
YES – Taking properly sealed bags of invasive plants to the landfill or including them in your curb-side garbage are effective ways to dispose of them. Use thick yard waste bags that are closed tightly to ensure invasive plants can’t escape. We recommend that they are not put in the actual garbadge but in the yard waste pick-up.

Can I burn invasive plants on my property?
NO – To avoid any invasive species surprises over the following months, burning invasive plants is best left up to the landfill. While burning plants can remove foliage, airborne seeds can easily spread to other parts of your property. Also, not all invasive plants should be burned. Plants like poison ivy and poison oak release volatile oils into the air when burned. There is also the obvious risk that fire can spread and cause damage to native plants, property or even people.

Can I compost invasive plants?
NO – Invasive plants left in a compost bin or heap may thrive and spread. Monitoring compost conditions for invasives can be tricky, so we suggest avoiding this method or invasive species removal altogether. Composting is a great practice, so keep at it – just avoid including invasive plants. The seeds of many Invasives can remain viable in the soil for several years, so even if no invasives are immediately visible the seeds could be hiding and thus spread around gardens.

Proper disposal of invasives isn’t just for plants. For years, people have been releasing pet fish into local waterways or giving them the ol’ flush, without knowing that another life exists at the other end of the drain. Recently, Ontario anglers and park goers have been spotting monster goldfish in our lakes, ponds and streams.

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[Photo from Toronto Star, curtesy of TRCA] Giant goldfish caught in Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto. Former pet goldfish released into wild waterways can grow to exceptional sizes. This was found during a fish survey.

Goldfish breed exceptionally fast. A few dozen goldfish can multiply into thousands within a few months. They then feed on aquatic plants, destroying the vegetation that native fish need to survive. The next time you’re wondering what to do with a pet fish that’s met an untimely end, consider placing it in a sealed bag or container and putting it in the garbage or even taking it to your local vet. Live pet fish that are no longer wanted should never be released into local waterways. Take them to your local vet or try to find them another home.

CVC is committed to protecting all native and at-risk species. Check out our Invasive Species Program to learn more.

Toronto Star article on giant goldfish in Toronto waters.

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