Nova Scotia

Council looks to tackle invasive plant in Dartmouth's Little Albro Lake

Halifax regional council is looking to curb the spread of an invasive species at Little Albro Lake in Dartmouth, N.S. Yellow floating heart, which is native to East Asia and the Mediterranean, is the culprit.

Staff suggest using benthic mats to control infestation, pending provincial and federal approval

Yellow floating heart, an invasive plant, is posing a problem at Little Albro Lake in Dartmouth, N.S. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Halifax regional council is looking to curb the spread of an invasive plant species at Little Albro Lake in Dartmouth, N.S.

Yellow floating heart, which is native to East Asia and the Mediterranean, is the culprit.

Staff are recommending the use of benthic mats, or weed mats, to control the infestation, contingent on approval from the province and federal government.

The mats are a blanket-like barrier made out of synthetic or natural materials that can be placed on a lake bottom to block sunlight from the plant to control growth.

According to a staff report, using the mats would be "relatively inexpensive" compared to other weed-control methods, easy to apply, effective and safe.

Yellow floating heart at Little Albro Lake. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

But using the mats would require approval from Nova Scotia's Environment Department and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Yellow floating heart was first reported at Little Albro Lake in 2006 and "quickly grew to dominate the surface of the lake," the report states.

The plant is thick, making it difficult for swimming and boating.

The plants produce hairy seeds, which can attach to wildlife and boat hulls, making it possible to spread to other lakes.

Municipal staff recommends the use of weed mats to block sunlight to the plants. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

According to the report, area residents have advised their municipal councillor that the plant covers the lake surface, overtakes the lake's native vegetation and restricts any use of the lake for swimming or boating from May to September.

It could take up to three months to develop a pilot project and to get regulatory approval for using weed mats, which would delay an installation until the fall. So, "it may be prudent to delay mat installation until spring 2020," the report said.

The estimated cost of the proposed pilot project is $25,000.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.