Invasive species workshop

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Scroll down for the event description, CEU info, agenda, speaker profiles, and session descriptions.

Event date: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Location: Simcoe County Museum, 1151 Highway 26, Minesing, Ontario L9X 0Z7

Registration closes: Tuesday March 12, 2019 at 11:59 pm


Take part in this low-cost workshop to learn more about invasive species, how to report and how to be prepared. This workshop is being offered in thanks to the Invasive Species Centre, Simcoe County, Silv-Econ Ltd., the City of Windsor, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and more.

Learn about a variety of invasive species, including oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, Asian longhorned-beetle and more. Listen to the stories from the City of Windsor, and help shape the future of your community.

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Certified Arborist 6
BCMA – Science 2
BCMA – Practice 2
BCMA – Management


8:00 Registration

8:30 Welcome, Introduction and Overview
—ISA Ontario representative

8:45 Welcome from County of Simcoe and Overview of Invasive Species threats and management approaches in the Simcoe County Forest
—Graeme Davis, Forester, County of Simcoe

9:15 Invasive Species in Ontario
—Dave Nisbet, Partnership and Science Manager, Invasive Species Centre


10:15 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) 2019 Plant Health Survey Priorities
—Erin Bullas-Appleton, Plant Health Survey Biologist, Ontario, CFIA

11:00 Emerging Pest Threats to Ontario’s Urban Forests: Pests that are not yet in Ontario
—Richard Wilson, Pathologist, Government of Ontario


1:00 What you need to know about Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
—Kathleen Ryan, Forest Entomologist, Silv-Econ Ltd.

1:20 First hand knowledge from the City of Windsor, Recover Strategies for EAB and getting prepared for Oak Wilt Disease
—Gaspar Horvath, Forestry Analyst

2:00 Invasive Species Reporting: Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System for Ontario
—Kate Powell, Terrestrial Specialist, Invading Species Awareness Program, OFAH

2:45 BREAK

3:00 Keynote webinar presentation—The Landscape Approach to Invasive Species Early Detection and Rapid Response: A Land Conservation Challenge for the 21st Century.
—Randy G. Westbrooks, Ph.D., Invasive Species Prevention and EDRR Specialist

4:45 pm End of workshop

Speaker profiles and session descriptions

Dave Nisbett

David Nisbet is the Partnership & Science Manager at the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, where his work focuses on the development and implementation of key programs including the ISC’s Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Citizen Science Network, and the Forest Invasives program. Prior to his employment at the ISC, David worked with the Canadian Forest Service on emerald ash borer detection surveys in Southern and Central Ontario. David completed his MSc in Environmental Science at University of Guelph, where he researched the ecological impacts and management of emerald ash borer in Ontario forests. He completed his undergraduate degree at University of Toronto with a double major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Forest Conservation Science.

Session description

As a non-profit organization, the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) works to build strategic partnerships and collaborations to address invasive species issues in Canada. This presentation will provide an overview of invasive species in Ontario, and highlight specific tools and resources the ISC offers to assist with invasive species management.

One of these resources includes the first comprehensive multi-phase Emerald Ash Borer Management Manual in Canada, to be published by the ISC in 2019. This practical manual will focus on recommended actions for five critical phases of an EAB outbreak, including; Pre-EAB Infestation, EAB Detection & Rapid Response, EAB Population growth & Aggressive Management, EAB Infestation collapse, and EAB Endemic phase & Long-term Management.


Invasive Species Centre
Forest Invasives Website

Kate Powell

Kate is the Terrestrial Specialist for the Invading Species Awareness Program, where she works to inform the public about invasive plants, forest pests and pathogens. She is a graduate of Fleming College and Trent University, having earned an Ecosystem Management diploma and Environmental Science degree. Throughout her career she has worn many different hats in the field and in the office; from aquatic and terrestrial monitoring, to public outreach and education.

Session: Invasive Species Reporting: The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System for Ontario

The Early Detection Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) for Ontario is a web-based mapping platform of invasive species which combines data from a variety of organizations as well as volunteer observations to create a national network of invasive species distribution data. This session will provide an overview of how EDDMapS works, highlighting primary features and applications of the software.

Richard Wilson

Dr. Richard Wilson is Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources Forest Program Pathologist. He is responsible for providing scientific expertise, direction and technical support in the development of legislation and policy concerning forest pests and abiotic events. He identifies forest health priorities including addressing existing and emerging threats, and works with other research agencies in addressing these priorities. He is involved in all issues relating to forest pathology and mycology within the province. Much of his time is occupied with introduced exotic fungal pests; white pine blister rust, butternut canker, beech bark disease and more recently with oak wilt and beech leaf disease.

Session: Emerging Pest Threats to Ontario’s Urban Forests

Arborists and municipalities are aware of the damage invasive fungal pathogens and insects can cause. The introduction of Dutch elm disease (DED) into North America (1967 in Ontario) is possibly the most significant event in the history of urban forestry with many municipalities losing 80% of their elm street trees. Elms that were lost to DED over the years were often replaced with ash. With the arrival of the emerald ash borer in 2002 and with ash mortality rates as high as 99%, combined with the loss of elm, many municipalities are struggling to maintain an urban tree canopy.

The annual cost of invasive alien species (IAS) is estimated to be as much as $20 billion to the Canadian forest sector. The impact to municipalities and urban areas has been extensive with the loss of shade trees, lowering of property values, loss of neighborhood aesthetics, safety and liability issues along with the increased cost of tree removal and replacement. Being aware of these emerging threats, arborists and urban forest managers can help contribute to their early detection and management response activities. This presentation will address IAS tree pests that are not yet in Ontario but on the horizon.

Graeme Davis, RPF

Graeme Davis, a Registered Professional Forester since 1989, joined the County of Simcoe in 2005 following positions with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources, Canadian Forest Service, and in consulting. Since coming to Simcoe County he has been responsible to ensure the Simcoe County Forest remains one of the most highly respected municipal forestry programs in Ontario. He has been recognized for the promotion and awareness of the benefits of professional forestry in Ontario, and is a former President of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.

Session description

Established in 1922, the Simcoe County Forest is Ontario’s oldest and largest municipal forest. As a ‘working forest’ it has been intensively managed for decades, providing substantial ecological, social and economic benefits. Barely thought of just 15 years ago, the potential impacts from a range of invasive plants, pathogens and insects are now considered in all management decisions.

Kathleen Ryan

Kathleen Ryan is a Forest Entomologist, working with Silv-Econ Ltd since 2011. She is an expert in invasive forest species detection, ecology and management. She facilitates a stakeholder working group on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in southern Ontario. Dr. Ryan has conducted a multi-stakeholder needs assessment for EAB information and technology transfer, resulting in the development and ongoing expansion of, a stakeholder-needs-driven repository of invasive species information.

Session: What you need to know about Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

A new invader on our doorstep, hemlock woolly adelgid, has the potential to be as devastating to Ontario’s eastern hemlock as emerald ash borer is to ash. If we are proactive and detect it early enough though there are more options to manage it. This presentation provides an overview of hemlock woolly adelgid biology, impact and detection.

Erin Bullas-Appleton, M.Sc.

As the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA), Plant Health Survey Biologist for Ontario, Erin holds the National Survey lead on a number of high visibility files including Asian Longhorned beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and Oak Wilt. Erin joined the CFIA after completing her MSc in Plant Agriculture specializing in entomology at the University of Guelph. She has been in her current role for more than 12 years and loves the creative and collaborative opportunities it provides, particularly when it relates to new and more effective ways to survey for critical plant pests.

Session description

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national plant protection survey program provides information in support of import, export, and domestic regulatory programs and is the basis for sound regulatory decisions.

Pest surveys are required to maintain claims of “pest-free” status of an area, to detect new populations of quarantine pests, and to delimit populations of quarantine pests with limited distributions in Canada. Pest surveys are also an integral part of control and eradication programs. The CFIA uses various survey methods to detect priority pests including Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Oak Wilt, and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in addition to broad-spectrum pathway based surveys designed to target other wood boring pests. Collaborative research, outreach and education are key elements of the CFIA’s annual regulatory survey program.

Randy Westbrooks

Keynote Presentation – Webinar

Dr. Randy Westbrooks, who is a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, USA, received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from the University of South Carolina (1976 and 1978), and a Ph.D. in Botany/Weed Science from North Carolina State University (1989). From 1979-2012, Dr. Westbrooks served as a Federal Invasive Species Prevention Specialist with USDA APHIS [Plant Quarantine Officer, Port of Charleston, S.C. (1979-1986); Weed Scientist, USDA Plant Methods Center, Whiteville, NC (1986-2000)], and the U.S. Geological Survey (National IVS Program Coordinator (2000-2012)]. Dr. Westbrooks and his wife Rebecca (Biologist/Science Educator – 1974-Current) reside in Chadbourn, (southeastern) North Carolina.

In 2008, the Westbrooks started developing an online IVS Management Training Program as part of Rebecca’s Environmental Science Technology Program at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, North Carolina. The program includes six online courses covering all aspects of IVS management – including prevention, exclusion, detection, containment, eradication, and control. Since Rebecca’s retirement from SCC in 2015, the courses are now being offered through the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA).

Since retiring from his federal career in 2012, Dr. Westbrooks has continued working as an IVS Prevention Specialist as an Associate with Invasive Plant Control, Inc., which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. His long-term goals are to promote Invasive Species Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) – to prevent the establishment and spread of new and emerging Invasive Species [e.g., Crested Floating Heart (Nymphoides cristata) in the Carolinas], and to pass on what he learned in his career to the next generation through the NAISMA Online IVS Management Training Program.

Partnerships Now… Weeds Won’t Wait!!

Session description

Over the past 30 years, World Weed Geographer Rod Randall from Western Australia has documented over 35,000 Invasive Plants Species around the world. Of this total, about 5,000 Invasive Plant Species have been introduced to the U.S. and Canada so far. The overall goal of Invasive Species (IVS) Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is to detect and eradicate new invasive species like this – soon after they naturalize within a defined area, and before they spread out of control [e.g., Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) – now growing in Ontario, Canada].

Three approaches to IVS EDRR have been identified over the past several decades – from the local to international levels. EDRR 1.0 includes single agency-led federal/state weed eradication projects (e.g., the USDA/Carolinas Witchweed Eradication Program). EDRR 2.0 includes Interagency Weed Eradication Projects (e.g., the Carolinas Beach Vitex Task). The Landscape Approach to EDRR (EDRR 3.0) involves promotion and development of EDRR capacity for individual public and private land units across the country (e.g., parks, forests, refuges, farms and ranches, etc.). The long term goal of IVS EDRR is to address the Homogeocene (Humans mixing up the Earth’s Flora and Fauna) in an effective way…

An example of an emerging Invasive Species in forests of the eastern United States is Laurel Wilt Disease (LWD) (Raffaelea lauricola). LWD was introduced to the U.S. by the Red Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) in wooden crates of Machinery from China through the Port of Savannah, Georgia, in 2002. The Red Ambrosia Beetle and LWD are now spreading up and down the East Coast where they are having a devastating ecological impact on native Red Bay (Persea borbonia) and Swamp Bay (Persea palustris) trees. LWD is also a serious economic threat to Avocado (Persea Americana) production in Florida. Fortunately, the systemic fungicide Propiconazole is showing promise in controlling LWD in Redbay and Avocado trees in Florida.

Laurel Wilt Disease is an example of a new invasive species that should be addressed through EDRR efforts to protect vulnerable species in Native Forests as well as Avocado Production in Florida.

Gaspar Horvath

I am an arborist and a forester with international experience in New Zealand, the US, Mexico and across Canada.

Currently practicing urban forestry in Windsor, Ontario. I have strong interests and experience with: forest and environmental education; urban forestry and community engagement; re-naturalization of forest and native ecosystems; invasive species and pest control; tree nursery operations; and NGO, non-profit and community volunteer based operations.

Session description

Learn about the passage of Emerald Ash Borer and how it travelled through Windsor, Ontario, the impacts from the loss of our ash canopy and our recover strategy, where is Oak wilt now and how we are we preparing for its eventual appearance, and information on other pests being monitored in South-Western Ontario.