EC Brown Conservation Area


Join Paddle with a Purpose Tours for Welland River European Water Chestnut Rapid Response Program

European water chestnut (EWC) (Trapas natans) is an aggressive invasive aquatic plant that has been detected in the Welland River. The dense floating leaves of EWC can shade out the water below, killing native vegetation and subsequently reducing water oxygen levels. The plants also get tangled in boat motors and make swimming almost impossible. The Invasive Species Centre (ISC) is leading a Rapid Response Program to remove EWC from the Welland River with support from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). The program will aim to contain the population within four years. EWC seeds can survive and sprout for up to ten years so the initial control efforts will be followed by a monitoring and maintenance program.  

In July 2020, EWC was reported to the EDDMapS invasive species reporting system ( by two recreational paddlers who knew the plant and the harm it could potentially bring to Ontario’s environment, economy, and society. Reports made to EDDMapS by community scientists are forwarded to various authorities for review and potential action. For EWC, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) received the observation and is supporting the Rapid Response Program in the Welland River to help ensure the species is contained and progress is made towards eradication.

“When an invasive species is detected, we must respond rapidly before it becomes established or spreads to other areas,” says Sarah Rang, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Centre. “If we are going to slow an invasive species down or stop it all together, our success depends on quick action by many partners to control and eradicate it.”

The EWC Rapid Response Program also includes two paddling tours to provide opportunities for the local community to help. The Paddle with a Purpose Tours will take place at E.C. Brown Conservation Area (544 River Rd., Fenwick, Pelham, L0S 1C0) on Thursday, July 7 from 9 a.m. to noon and on Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The tours are open to all community members who enjoy waterways in Niagara. Attendees will learn how to identify EWC and report observations. To participate, you need to bring your own boat or other recreational watercraft and personal safety gear and registering in advance is highly encouraged.

For more information about the EWC Rapid Response Program and Paddle with a Purpose Tours, including how to register in advance, please visit the ISC website.

For those who cannot attend an event but are interested in learning more about the program and how to help, please visit the ISC website or contact the program coordinator Karen Alexander at


About the Invasive Species Centre  
The Invasive Species Centre is a not-for-profit organization that prevents the spread of invasive species in Canada and beyond by connecting with stakeholders to catalyze invasive species management and communicate policy and science knowledge. Visit our website to learn about invasive species, get technical information, take action, register for events, and sign up to receive news.

For more information please contact:

Jill Thatcher

Communications Coordinator

Invasive Species Centre

(705) 297-2069