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Thunder Bay Food Strategy
Safe Cycling Thunder Bay

Invasive Species

Invasive Species in Northern Ontario


There are many invasive species starting to make their presence known in Northern Ontario. Below you will find information and resources about some of the invaders in the area as well as watchlist species that are of high risk for establishing in the region.

Many populations of invasive species in the region are newly established and at the perfect time to catch them before they grow beyond control. Read more below about what is currently being done and what you can do on your own to reduce the impacts and spread of invasive species!

Report Invasive Species

You can report suspected invasive species using the EDDMapS website ( or the Invading Species Hotline (1-800-563-7711)!




Invasive Plants

Invasive Phragmites

AKA European Common Reed, is often referred to as the worst invasive plant in Canada! This tall grass has wreaked havoc in a number of Southern Ontario wetlands and small populations are starting to be seen throughout the region. Once established, impacts of this plant include increased flood risk, fire hazard, reduced wildlife habitat, and lowered biodiversity. This invasive grass is not to be confused with its cousin, native Phragmites


Best Management Practices:

Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip has phototoxic properties which is cause for concern for public safety. There is only one known patch in the city limits of Thunder Bay. This plant is in the Parsnip family which also includes the native Cow parsnip and the invasive Giant Hogweed. Cow Parsnip is often seen through out the city but is NOT to be confused with the deadly invasive species Giant Hogweed whish IS NOT known to be in the region yet. 


Best Management Practices:

Japanese Knotweed

This is a common backyard invader, AKA 'bamboo' for its bamboo-like stem. This plant has an impressive root system that once established can span 10 metres away from the parent plant. Japanese Knotweed is capable of growing through cement and can damage house foundations, sidewalks, and roadways. This plant has even been listed as hazardous waste in the United Kingdom due to the ability of even the tiniest chunk of rhizome being able to establish a new population.


Best Management Practices:

Garlic Mustard

There are only two known patches of Garlic Mustard in the city limits of Thunder Bay. There have been 3 consecutive years of invasive plant pulls in partnership with Early Detection and Rapid Response at the McVicar Creek site in an effort to control this invasive plant, it is hopeful that this site is close to eradication. The second site in town was just discovered in the Summer of 2018 at another popular recreation trail. 


Best Management Practices:

Himalayan Balsam

This plant is in the Impatiens family, known for their exploding seed pods. Commonly sold through the horticulture trade, this showy flower is prevalent throughout the area in many peoples backyards and backlanes and has now escaped into a number of urban greenspaces. Himalayan Balsam causes greatly increased erosion as it dies off at the end of the growing season, especially in its preferred estuary habitat.


Best Management Practices: 

Other Invasive Plants:

Purple Loosestrife, Common Tansy, Flowering Rush, Goutweed, Creeping Bellflower, Periwinkle, Siberian Peashrub, Non-native Honeysuckles



Forest Pests

Emerald Ash Borer


Fact Sheet:

Aquatic Invasives

Sea Lamprey


Fact Sheet:

Rusty Crayfish


Fact Sheet:

Round Goby


Fact Sheet:

Eurasian Ruffe


Website Link:

Spiny Waterflea


Website Link:

Zebra Mussels


Website Link:




562 Red River Road,
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7B 1H3
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