Anyone who follows the local news outlets may have seen this March 22, 2018 news article and wondered if Kahshe Lake has been impacted by these ‘monsters’.
In 2017, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association (FOCA) notified lake associations that they were prepared to fund a number of pilot projects to begin a more comprehensive understanding of invasive species. The KLRA responded to this initiative with a proposed program for the sampling and determination of the presence of spiny waterfleas and zebra mussels. In preparing the proposal, it was determined that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) was offering a no charge loan of dedicated sampling equipment and the analysis of water samples collected throughout Ontario for the two invasive species. Although the fishhook waterflea and freshwater jellyfish were not specifically addressed in the sampling program offered by the OFAH, the writer visually evaluated each of the samples collected for the presence of freshwater jellyfish. While this would not rule out smaller life stages such as eggs, frustule or planula larvae or polyps of this species, it would certainly identify the presence of adult jellyfish and likely mature polyps or polyp colonies. In the case of the fishhook waterflea, the OFAH analysis of the water samples would have captured this species as well, as it is similar in size to the spiny waterflea.
With this as a basis, a proposal was prepared and was awarded funding by FOCA to cover a small number of related sampling costs and report printing. The terms of the FOCA award included the preparation of a final report and the completion of a FOCA project summary questionnaire with a minimum of five pictures documenting key pilot project activities and participating people by December 15, 2017. The questionnaire was completed on schedule and accepted by FOCA. This report constitutes the final component of the funded project.
We’ve now completed two years of aquatic invasive species testing on Kahshe and Bass Lakes, and the reports on these studies can be found in the sub-tab to this overview. But before you get into the details of those reports, a little general background information will help everyone understand the importance of controlling the spread of these invaders and the province-wide programs that have been set up to document and map the spread of these unwanted organisms.
What were we looking for?
Our aquatic studies have been focussed on three invasive species that have been detected in other lakes in the Muskoka area, including the Spiny Waterflea, Zebra mussels and Freshwater Jellyfish. More complete information on these species and the impact they have has been presented in the 2018 report for Kahshe Lake.
Who is coordinating the studies and mapping the findings in Muskoka?
In 1992, the OFAH formed a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to implement the Invading Species Awareness Program. Some of the initiatives of this program have included:
As such, the findings from the FOCA funded testing of Kahshe Lake in 2018 will be entered into the EDDMapS program. An example of the EDDMapS for zebra mussel veligers and spiny water fleas in lakes in the Gravenhurst area for 2017 is presented below.
In 2019, funding for several FOCA programs including the Invading Species Awareness Program was cut by the Provincial government; however, a group of concerned aquatic scientists from Muskoka and other parts of Ontario managed to coordinate a limited amount of invasive species sampling and the OFAH made sampling equipment it had available for sharing across Muskoka and other areas. As a result, we were able to conduct sampling of both Kahshe and Bass Lakes in 2019 and the KLRA provided funding for the laboratory identification of the collected samples. These findings have not yet been entered into the EDDMapS Ontario program, but this should take place at a later date.
What have the two Invasive Species testing programs on Kahshe and Bass Lakes found?
The sampling undertaken by the Kahshe and Bass Lake Steward in 2018 and 2019 have found no evidence of spiny water fleas, fish-hook water fleas, zebra mussel veligers or fresh water jellyfish. Details on the sampling methods and locations are provided in the individual reports in the sub-tab.
Ron Pearson – Kahshe and Bass Lake Steward