Flowering Rush Survey and Eradication

Flowering Rush Survey and Eradication

Flowering Rush – General Information

Flowering Rush is a prohibited invasive weed that is a threat to our wetlands and riparian areas. It may cause a significant environmental and societal impact after it has started spreading down the South Saskatchewan River. Its tolerance to a variety of soil types and moisture levels allows it to out-compete native plants, decreasing the biodiversity of Saskatchewan’s aquatic ecosystems.

Flowering Rush can:

  • Impede distribution of irrigation water
  • Reduce water availability
  • Interfere with boat propellers and fishing equipment
  • Create a habitat for snails that cause swimmers itch
  • Impact biodiversity of wetlands
  • Impact fish habitat

If you are interested to find out more about the impact of Flowering Rush, check out this YouTube Video which shows the Flowering Rush Invasion of the Colombia River System.

Survey and Eradication Project

We received approval for three years of funding under the Habitat Stewardship Program through Fisheries and Oceans Canada to map occurrences and to start an eradication program. We joined forces with the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, the Meewasin Valley Authority, and the Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council. We adopted 45 km of the South Saskatchewan infested with Flowering Rush.

In 2018 and 2019, Sask Energy has provided additional funding for this initiative, and partners from Meewasin Valley Authority, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, and the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment have provided invaluable in-kind support to conduct this survey and start plant removal.

In 2018, we surveyed the South Saskatchewan River from the Alberta border to Highway 21 near Leader.

In August of 2019, 11 volunteers were on the South Saskatchewan River in canoes mapping occurrences and digging up the Flowering Rush as it was found. There is a large infestation west of the forks of the Red Deer and South Sask Rivers that the field crew was unable to address this summer. Because of the number of plants and the difficulty removing them, a larger crew will be required to work the area from the forks to the Alberta/Saskatchewan border.

In 2020, we were not able to survey by canoe due to high river levels and COVID-19 restrictions. Thankfully James Villeneuve, who works for the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, agreed to use his drone to survey the riverbanks for us. The river levels stymied the drone as well!

2021, is the final year of funding and we surveyed the area from the Leader to the Saskatchewan Landing Regional Park by canoe. Additionally, James Villeneuve provided his drone again. We did not find new infestations in areas that were mapped in 2019. However, larger infestations have been found in the area between Cabri Regional Park and Saskatchewan Landing. Thus, we applied for more funding in order to, hopefully, continue with this project.

Flowering Rush YouTube Video

We created a video showcasing our efforts over the past few years. For best video quality set your video settings to HD!