Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species

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Albertans play an important role in protecting the province's waterways from aquatic invasives. Everyone who enjoys Alberta's lakes and rivers needs to be proactive about keeping our aquatic ecosystems safe. 

If you are bringing a boat and equipment into Alberta from another province or state, make sure to:


1. Clean

Clean and inspect watercraft, trailer and gear.

Remove all plants, animals and mud at the access area or dock.

At home, soak your gear in a two per cent bleach solution for one minute (20 millilitres of bleach per litre of water). Rinse, scrub or pressure wash your boat away from storm drains, ditches or waterways.

2. Drain

On land before leaving the waterbody, drain all water from

  • bait buckets
  • ballasts
  • bilges
  • coolers
  • internal compartments
  • livewells
  • transom motors

Never release live bait into a waterbody or transfer aquatic plants or animals from waterbody to another.

For paddle boats, drain by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments and removing seats if necessary.

3. Dry

Dry the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry.

Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water


If you are using your boat in a number of different waterbodies, be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat and equipment after you leave each waterbody. This is especially important if you boat outside of the province.

The provincial government is working to keep non-native aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels and Eurasian water milfoil, out of Alberta through the development of an AIS prevention program. This program includes:

1-800 hotline

new watercraft inspection program that will help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives and safeguard Alberta's waterbodies


outreach campaign


For more information or to report something suspicious on your boat or equipment:

Call Toll Free: 1 855 336-2628 (BOAT)


Himalayan Balsam
(Poor Man’s Orchid, Policeman’s Helmet, Indian Balsam, Touch-me-not)

Himalayan Balsam is a prohibited noxious weed, which means that you must eradicate them.  They have the potential to take over native vegetation, forming a monoculture and destroying wildlife habitat and waterfowl breeding grounds. They can outcompete cattails, rushes and sedges in riparian areas and due to shallow roots allow for erosion and destruction of shorelines.

Himalayan Balsam is an annual, which grows at an impressive rate, achieving heights of 1 to 3 meters. It has a hollow bamboo-like stem with prominent ridges. When under stress, it can grow in a spindly grass-like fashion, flowering close to the ground.  The leaves and stem are tinged reddish purple colour, with whorls of three leaves twirling up the stem. Leaves are lance shaped and have prominent veins and serrated edges. The flowers can come in a multitude of shades from white to pink to dark purple. Flowers are heavy with nectar and can attract bees away from native species. Seed capsules can contain up to 16 seeds and explode, shooting seeds up to 10 meters away, and can stay viable for seven years. An average sized plant can produce 700-800 seeds in total.

Control: Hand pulling works best but needs to be done early in the season before seeds form.  Disposal by bagging and burning is recommended however for large patches this is ineffective. At Pigeon Lake they have used the “pick, break and drop” method which is pulling out the plant and breaking it apart a few inches above the roots and dropping them on drier lands where they dry out and die.  After August, you should bag the tops to prevent seed dispersal.  Some herbicides are effective, however sprayed flowering plants can still produce viable seed.

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For more information on Alberta Invasive Species, click here.





Clubroot is a serious soil-bourne disease in cruciferous crops, most notably canola. The disease causes galls or clubs to form on the root structure of the plant and causes death of the plant prematurely. Yield losses are estimated to be half of the percentage of infected stems. If you had 100% infestation you should expect 50% yield loss. Once clubroot infests a field it is impossible to eradicate. Spores can reside in the soil for 20 years!

Clubroot is spread by soil, and can occur through soil transport by wind or water erosion, on farm machinery, in manure from animals fed infected feed, and soil attached to seeds (earth tags). It is often first detected in fields at the entrance. Anyone accessing the field can potentially infect a field including: construction, utilities, petroleum industries, recreation vehicles, hunters, and custom operators/sprayers; as well as through livestock, manure, hay, straw, seed, rental equipment and even footwear.

The spread of clubroot has been rapid across the province since it was first detected close to Edmonton in 2003. Prevention is paramount to protect yourself against clubroot. The best defense is to practice good sanitation, at a minimum, by removing soil clumps and crop debris. Washing equipment with hot water or steam, and disinfecting equipment with a weak 1-2% bleach solution and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes will remove any remaining spores on your equipment. Restrict access to your fields and be cognisant of equipment purchases (especially used) as it may be coming from an area with clubroot. Practice soil conservation to reduce the amount of erosion on your fields. Avoid the use of straw or hay from areas that may contain clubroot. Manage weeds and volunteers, especially those in the mustard family, dock and hoary cress or Brassica family as they are all hosts to clubroot. Use long rotations, it will not prevent clubroot but rather slow progression of the disease as the spore half life is 4 years.

Scout your fields! The optimal time to scout your fields is 2 weeks prior to swathing when the galls are most evident. To scout your fields:

  • First assess the field as a whole. Look for patches of the crop that exhibit wilting or stressed symptoms, premature ripening, stunting and yellowing of plants.
  • If you find plants with any symptoms, dig up a few plants to check for galls on the roots (it takes 6 weeks from initial infection for the galls to form) to properly diagnose clubroot infection.
  • Take steps to ensure no soil is transported from one field to another while scouting.

If you have fields infested with clubroot it will require long term management. Using long rotations (four year) will help prevent the accumulation of resting clubroot spores, but it will not eliminate or prevent the clubroot from spreading. Use clubroot resistant varieties, however even these varieties are not immune to clubroot (1-4% of seed is susceptible), expect some infected plants which can be attributed to volunteers and weeds. Minimizing traffic into the fields and committing to performing good sanitation practices will prevent the disease from spreading to new areas. Avoid working in wet fields as mud will easily stick to equipment and be transferred to other fields. If you have an infested field, work in this field last so you are less likely to spread the disease to other fields. Manage the disease with best management practices, being proactive and scouting your fields.

To learn about the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan contact your local Agricultural Fieldman or Lakeland Agricultural Research Association or visit: