A new invader is moving into Saskatchewan along the South Saskatchewan River. This is not a killer fish or a clog-forming mussel, but an invasive aquatic plant that can have significant environmental and societal impacts to Saskatchewan’s waterways.
Flowering Rush is a non-native, ornamental, aquatic plant species that has escaped home water gardens and has moved into natural water systems across North America. In Saskatchewan, one known population has been detected and controlled for the past decade by the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan near Watrous. However, in 2017, several plants were found along the South Saskatchewan River at the Alberta border.
Flowering Rush is classified as prohibited under the Weed Act of Saskatchewan. It can cause a reduction in water availability for drinking water intakes, inhibit recreational activities, impeded distribution of irrigation water, impact biodiversity of wetlands for wildlife, and can impact fish habitat. It will establish in a river channel and move into tributaries and irrigation canals. It spreads by rhizomes and pieces of rhizomes that break off and float downstream plus by bulbets and seed.
SaskEnergy has provided funding to the South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards (SSRWSI) to conduct a survey of the South Saskatchewan River from the Alberta border to Highway 21 south of Leader to map the extent of Flowering Rush invasion into Saskatchewan. Volunteers from Meewasin Valley Authority, Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards, Moose Jaw Creek Watershed Stewards, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan and the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment will assist the SSRWSI in conducting this survey. Information collected will be provided to the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Center’s iMapInvasives provincial invasive species database. The survey will occur, via canoe, from August 15 to 16th, 2018.
Early detection and rapid response are needed to stem the spread of Flowering Rush in the South Saskatchewan River watershed. Mapping the current extent is the first step in this process. There are limited control options for Flowering Rush and under the Saskatchewan Weed Act, it must be eradicated. The information collected will be used to develop a management strategy for its control and eradication along the South Saskatchewan River. In 2017, the Alberta Invasive Species Council conducted a survey upstream of the Alberta / Saskatchewan Border and discovered thousands of established populations. Surveyors noted that Flowering Rush had established on the Saskatchewan side of the border.
For more information please contact:
Renny W. Grilz, Meewasin’s Resource Management Officer and South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards, Treasurer at 306-262-4970 or firstname.lastname@example.org