New provincial boating regulations focusing on “Clean, Drain, Dry” principles and practices aiming to reduce the spread of environmentally damaging invasive species come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Watercraft and watercraft equipment were regulated as carriers of invasive species after amendments to the Invasive Species Act following a 2021 review. A public comment period ran from April 21 to June 7.
Precautions now law
Boaters – including canoe and kayak users – now must take extra precautions when moving watercraft over land. They cannot move their boat unless drain plugs and other devices used to control drainage of water and equipment have been opened and removed.
This requirement does not apply to livewells, if the person transporting live fish has a licence to do so under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The regulation also does not apply to drinking water, marine sanitary, and closed engine cooling systems.
“Reasonable measures” must also be taken to remove any aquatic plants, animals or, algae from the watercraft, watercraft equipment, and any vehicle or trailer used to transport the watercraft or watercraft equipment overland.
Prior to reaching a launch site for a body of water, boaters must also ensure watercraft, watercraft equipment, and any vehicle or trailer used to transport it does not have an aquatic plant, animal or algae attached to it. They can’t launch if it does.
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry also classified 13 species as either prohibited or restricted invasive species as part of the regulatory changes posted on Oct. 19.
Prohibited species, which cannot be brought into the province, deposited, released, possessed or transported, now include marbled and red swamp crayfish, New Zealand mud snail, tench, Prussian carp, and mountain pine beetle.
The most notable restricted species addition, which cannot be deposited or released in Ontario or brought into a provincial park or conservation reserve, is wild pigs. Hunting wild pigs is prohibited with exceptions for protecting property from damage.
Three aquatic plants, yellow floating heart, Carolina Fanwort, and European frogbit, and three terrestrial plants, Bohemian knotweed, Giant knotweed, and Himalayan knotweed, were also added.