An analysis of aquatic invasive species management in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada: establishment of a database to improve knowledge sharing.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity has declared invasive species a global threat and requested increased data sharing to prevent further impact. Existing worldwide and local databases mainly focus on distribution, abundance, identification, and impacts of invasive species, but very few record management activities. In the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, no database focuses specifically on invasive species management. The goal of this study was to document current aquatic and riparian invasive species management activities in the Niagara region and develop a database that would become a tool to facilitate collaboration at the regional level. The objectives were to (1) inventory current invasive species detection and control activities in the Niagara region; (2) examine perceived efficacy of control techniques; and (3) develop a database integrated with a GIS mapping component. Seventy-one organizations involved in riparian/aquatic invasive species management in the Niagara region were contacted and 16 in-depth interviews were conducted. In 2017-2018, 35 separate control efforts were reported, involving 10 riparian invasive species and two aquatic invasive species, mostly concentrated along the Niagara River. Collaboration efforts were minimal, occurring for only six specific projects. Recommendations include develop a regional invasive species plan; increase control efforts along the Welland Canal and Lake Erie shoreline; adopt a wider variety of control techniques; and increase collaboration, information-sharing and resource-sharing among organizations. Overall, the newly developed database provides a baseline for the current state of aquatic and riparian invasive species management activities in the region. It can also help bridge the gap between invasive species science and decision-making by forming a tool to identify resource-sharing opportunities, management efficacy, priority areas, areas of improvement, and future resource needs. The database will enrich the global invasive species information network by providing Niagara-specific information. The database could also act as a model for tracking management activities of other invasive species and in other regions of North America.