Trent-Severn Waterway has only known wild population in North America


PETERBOROUGH — Users of the Trent-Severn Waterway should be on the lookout for the invasive aquatic plant, water soldier.

Water soldier, an invasive plant from Eurasia, is causing harm to native vegetation and restricting boating and swimming opportunities along the waterway. The Trent-Severn Waterway population of water soldier is the only known wild population in all of North America and was first discovered in the waterway near the Hamlet of Trent River in 2008.

Water soldier can be easily differentiated from other native vegetation due to its bright green serrated leaves that resemble the top of a pineapple.

To combat this invasive species, a working group, including members from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Lower Trent Conservation (LTC), Parks Canada, and Trent University, was formed. With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Invasive Species Centre, and the MNRF, the water soldier working group will be conducting a number of monitoring and control measures on water soldier this year.

Plans include extensive mapping of the water soldier population, mechanical harvesting, and a fall herbicide treatment.

The water soldier working group is asking the public to help stop the spread of water soldier in the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Here is how the public can help:

•  Learn to identify water soldier and report new sightings to the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or

•  Avoid planting water soldier in your water garden and never release any plants into a natural waterbody

•  Avoid boating in areas infested with water soldier as it may inadvertently lead to spreading the plant
Waterfront property owners may wish to help control water soldier adjacent to their properties and there are various ways they can help, including:

Hand / Rake Pulling:
• Pros – inexpensive, does not require a special licence
• Cons – can be ineffective for larger patches, should not be conducted after mid-summer as it may cause the plants to spread
NOTE: harvested plants should be properly disposed of well away from any waterbody

Mechanical Harvester:
• Pros – effective for controlling water soldier up to two metres in depth
• Cons – expensive; not suitable for widespread control; should not be conducted after mid-summer as it may cause the plants to spread
NOTE: harvested plants should be properly disposed of well away from any waterbody

Chemical Control (Herbicide):
• Pros – effective at controlling large patches; can be conducted in a short time period
• Cons – moderately expensive; must be conducted by licenced contractors; requires a permit from Parks Canada and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Control of water solider in the Trent-Severn Waterway requires a permit from Parks Canada. Individuals interested in permitting requirements should contact Parks Canada at 705-750-4900.

To arrange a media interview or photo opportunity or to set up an on-site inspection of the water soldier colonies with OFAH staff, please see the contact information below. To learn more about water soldier and what you can do to stop the spread of invasive species, visit

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