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What are invasive species?

Sometimes plants or animals that are not native to an area get introduced either by accident or intentionally through human activities. These species are considered invasive if their introduction and spread causes harm to the environment, economy or society. 

How do aquatic invasive species affect you?

Aquatic invasive species affect everyone that uses our waters, including boaters, shoreline property owners, and anglers.  These invaders can:

  • clog cottage water intake lines;

  • choke lakes and waterways and restrict use by boaters and swimmers;

  • reduce populations of native fish, clams, water fowl, and other species that inhabit our waters;

  • reduce the numbers and diversity of popular sport fish;

  • degrade the natural beauty of our lakes and waterways;

  • clog boat engines and jam steering equipment, which may lead to expensive repairs; and

  • foul fishing gear.

In November 2016, GORA presented a three-phase strategy to Municipal Council to prevent invasive species from entering our lakes. We had attended a Public Forum where we had learned about the harmful effect of invasive species, particularly those caused by the Eurasian water milfoil plant.  This plant survives in a lake by destroying all other native plants, which leads to a total decline in the lake’s oxygen levels. Not only would this result in the loss of fish life, the lake water itself would be very unpleasant for both swimming and boating.  We also learned that once a lake is infested with invasive species, it is incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to completely eradicate them. Here are a couple samples of efforts to combat the spread of the invasive 'Eurasian Water Milfoil' plant that were in the news in 2018. Check out these articles:

July 17 - Montreal Gazette 

July 18 - CBC News

May 13, 2022 - CHIP FM

Interview with Otter Lake Mayor, Terry Lafleur

The three phases are described in detail in GORA's November 2016 letter to Municipal Council.


In brief, they are:

Phase I: Launch a public awareness campaign to share information about invasive species and their effects on lakes. 

With the collaboration and support of the Municipality of Otter Lake, signs were placed at boat launches on our lakes in May 2018 to raise awareness of the dangers of invasive species.


Phase 2: Provide a boat-washing facility for boat operators to clean their boats and trailers with a power washer.

A Boat Wash Station was installed at the Municipal Hall at 15 Palmer Street in May 2018. Multiple signs were also installed to direct boaters to the station. A new hot water pressure washer was added to the boat wash station in 2021.


Phase 3: Introduce measures to help ensure that all boats and trailers are washed prior to being launched in the lakes.

Coverage of GORA's work with the Municipality culminating in the Mandatory Boat Washing By-Law, along with a description of the steps that are being taken to implement the by-law, are on the next page.



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