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Aquatic Weeds


Wild Celery PlantThere have been several reports of floating aquatic weeds accumulating on shorelines this season, in particular on Lower Buckhorn, Deer Bay and Chemong Lakes. In response,
Trent-Severn Waterway staff conducted an investigation by boat on Upper and Lower Buckhorn, Pigeon, Chemong, and Balsam Lakes on August 9th and 10th.

During their investigation, the team spoke with boaters, landowners, harvester operators, inspected the area and collected several plant samples to identify the species of aquatic plants that were present in the floating clumps of aquatic vegetation.

It was concluded that the amount of vegetation that was present along the shoreline, far exceeds the vegetation that would be cut by a harvester for areas around docks and channels to navigation or that could be pulled out by hand by shoreline property owners. In addition, weed harvesters only cut the tops of leaves off, so any harvested material that would be blown to the shoreline would be cut leaves. The material that was observed, collected, and was described in the email from you, were whole plants with roots attached.

Much of what was witnessed during the investigation was Eelgrass, which is a rooted submerged plant often found in flowing water. Eelgrass tends to form dense beds, which was evident in many areas. It was observed that the beds or mats of vegetation and soil, with assistance from the heat and strong winds, were rolling up, detaching from the lake bed and drifting across the lake. Eventually, the mats were s‎eparating out to create loose, floating vegetation floating on the surface. The environmental specialist has concluded that this situation has been caused by natural phenomenon, likely due to the significant high winds of this particular season.

Given this information, the floating vegetation is not the result of illegal or un-permitted activities on the part of the shoreline owners or
the use of weed harvesters. Parks Canada wardens were also on the lakes this summer to ensure compliance with aquatic vegetation removal permits and the work was completed responsibly for the most part.

It is recognized that for shoreline property owners, the issue of floating weeds is bothersome and has required effort to remove, however, there is no corrective measure that can be taken to eliminate the cause of the problem.

The Township of Selwyn is waiving disposal fees associated with the removal of the vegetation to assist with the problem during this unusual year.

Landfill Fees Waived for Aquatic Weed Disposal

At the August 9th, 2016 meeting of Selwyn Township Council, a resolution was passed with respect to Aquatic Weeds in the township.

It was resolved that aquatic weeds and wild rice compost may be deposited at the Landfill free of charge, regardless of weight, commencing from August 12, 2016 to December 31, 2016 with the requirement that the material be separated from any other leaf and yard compost and with no option for retroactive reimbursement for fees paid prior to August 12, 2016.

  • Residents of Selwyn Township can take aquatic weeds/wild rice to the Landfill located at 1480 8th Line (County Road 18), Selwyn.
  • Please keep aquatic weeds/wild rice separate from other leaf and yard waste.
  • There is No Charge to bring this material to the Landfill.

Weed Harvesting

  • Parks Canada/TSW issues permits annually to mechanical weed harvesters. These harvesters are large machines which cut the weeds, and permit mandates that the harvester is required to remove the cut weeds from the water.
  • Weed harvesting can take place from July until the end of August.
  • If you are hiring a company to remove weeds with a mechanical harvester, ensure that they have a permit from Parks Canada/TSW and make sure you ask about their process.
  • Also ensure that they remove the weeds from the water, for if they do not, they are operating illegally and creating further problems for you and your neighbours.
  • If you witness a harvester or anyone leaving cut weeds in the water, please note the details of the incident (date, time, location, description of the harvester etc...). Take a picture too!
  • Send the information to Beth McEachern at Parks Canada/TSW -
  • Parks Canada/TSW is very concerned about illegal mechanical weed harvesting and appreciates any information that may assist them to address illegal operations taking place on our lakes.