Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia - Where History Meets Opportunity

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Invasive Alien Species

Policy No.: 2011-3
Effective Date: March 21, 2011
Approval By Council Motion No.:  13

In May 2008, the Town of Annapolis Royal approached the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) to propose ways in which the Town might incorporate invasive alien species (IAS) into its long-term planning. Specifically, the Town requested some input on IAS policy to consider for its “Green Plan”.

Canadian municipal plans incorporating IAS policy are either rare or difficult to find. Ways in which the Town might approach IAS in a proactive, yet conservative manner in its “Green Plan” include the following four measures: Identification, Better Management Practices (BMP), Public Outreach and Education and Long Term Management. Each
measure is described in more detail below.


  1. Identification
    1. Public – Identification of areas that have been colonized by IAS
    2. Private – Determination of extent of colonization on privately owned land within the town through a plant-watch type initiative Better Management Practices (BMP)
  2. Better Management Practices (BMP)
    1. CARP has developed a set of BMP for locally problematic terrestrial invasive plants including glossy buckthorn and common reed (see Appendix A). These should be used by the Town employees:
      1. Proper disposal of invasive plant material by double bagging, drying or burning (e.g. not composting).
      2. No planting of alien invasives on town property (this requires a list of known invasives – available from CARP).
      3. Encouraging native species by removing known invasives.
    2. Work with private sector to adopt the appropriate BMP for home and
      small business owners.

3. Public Outreach and Education

    1. General mandate for education of public in order to facilitate the removal of, the prevention and timely reporting of spread, and of any invasive species by making information available on the Town website, and making a list of IAS information available on the CARP website.
    2. Information session/mail out/publication for people to able to identify the most common/problematic species and general best management practices as identified in the above section (including an annual presentation to Town staff, and the Public Works Dept., and quarterly updates in the Town newsletter).
    3. Signage around a marsh, wharf, and other public areas, detailing how to spot them, the damage they do to the natural ecosystem and what to do if any are found on people’s property (reach visitors to areas, promoting stewardship) –Begin incorporating aquatic invasive species into planning.

4. Long Term Management

  1. General mandate for control/eradication of plants on town property (i.e. marsh). Given that CARP has initiated management of the invasive plant glossy buckthorn in the Annapolis Royal Marsh, the Town has a long-term commitment to see this project through.
  2. Gradual increase to target multiple species.
  3. A database of efforts made to control/eradicate invasive species established (e.g. Volunteer monitoring programs like “Plant Patrol NS” to alert Town to new occurrences, and maintain up date records/databases).
  4. Mandate for tourism and trail development: only native species planted for ornamentals to avoid loss of plants (wasted dollars and effort). Possibly consider native-only gardens on Town property (interesting from public outreach perspective too), and native-only plantings in the marsh.
  5. Investigate the pathways/vectors of transportation and spread and effort made to reduce that.
  6. Form long-term partnerships with community groups (e.g. CARP, naturalists, skate park advocates, etc.) to assist with management activities.


Aquatic Invaders



Policy/Action Plans


Invasive Species in our area

Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
Physical Description:

  • Form – upright, usually in clumps (shrublike)
  • Height – may be taller than 3m
  • Leaves – large, simple, alternate, smooth, oval with pointed tip
  • Flowers – in linear clusters, greenish-white colour, very small
  • Fruit – small, winged, containing tiny, triangular seeds
  • Blooms in – August and September
  • Other Features – very extensive, creeping roots; large, hollow stems with pronounced nodes; resembles bamboo.
  • Likely to be found: riparian areas, ditches, yards

Glossy & Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula & cathartica)
Physical Description:

  • Form – shrub or small tree
  • Height – up to 7m
  • Leaves – simple, alternate, oval, smooth (Glossy) or finely toothed (Common)
  • Flowers – in clusters, greenish-yellow colour, small regular flowers, 5 petals (Glossy) or 4 petals (Common)
  • Fruit – berries, red turning to black when ripe, each with 3-4 seeds
  • Blooms in – spring through fall
  • Other Features – Common Buckthorn may have small spines at twig tips; keeps foliage, flowers, and berries longer than most native shrubs (long growing season).
  • Likely to be found: open woods, wetlands, gardens and yards

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Physical Description:

  • Form – upright, stout, branched stem
  • Height – 0.5m to 1.5m
  • Leaves – simple, opposite, or in whorls of 3, smooth, no stalks, downy
  • Flowers – in spikes, magenta colour, small regular flowers, 5-7 petals
  • Fruit – small capsule (6mm long) containing many dark seeds
  • Blooms in – July through September (and later)
  • Other Features – stem feels square, whole plant usually covered in downy hairs, may have many stems (up to 50) on one plant.
  • Likely to be found: wetlands, ditches, gardens

Common Reed (Phragmites australis)
Physical Description:

  • Form – very tall, usually in dense, single species stands
  • Height – can exceed 5m
  • Leaves – simple, long, narrow, smooth, wide (up to 4cm)
  • Flowers – in plume like spikes (up to 30cm long), purple colour (changing to grey in late summer), individual flowers have long silky hairs
  • Fruit – flower heads look fluffy as seeds within mature
  • Blooms in – late July and August
  • Other Features – extensive, creeping roots
  • Likely to be found: wetland fringes, including salt marshes
  • NOTE: There is also a native Common Reed, and they may be difficult to distinguish.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
Physical Description:

  • Form – first year plant is a rosette, second year plant is an erect stem
  • Height – 0.6m to 1.05m
  • Leaves – simple, alternate, triangular, serrated (toothed)
  • Flowers – in clusters, white colour, small regular flowers, 4 petals in cross shape
  • Fruit – oblong pod (up to 10cm long) containing seeds
  • Blooms in – spring, plants dead by late June
  • Other Features – crushed stem and leaves have garlic odour
  • Likely to found: shady forest understories
  • NOTE: On the first year rosette, leaves are more kidney shaped, and round-toothed (less serrate) than on the second year plant.

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Physical Description:

  • Form – stiff, bushy, usually in clumps
  • Height – 2m to 3m
  • Leaves – small, lower have 3 leaflets, upper may be simple
  • Flowers – bright yellow colour, regular, pea-like
  • Fruit – pod (4-5cm long) with long hairs along seam
  • Blooms in – June and July
  • Other Features – up to 3500 seeds explode out of each seed pod when ripe, and can survive in the soil for decades!
  • Likely to be found: open woods, gardens, disturbed areas

Multiflora Rosa (Rosa multiflora)
Physical Description:

  • Form – shrub, forms dense thickets, arching stems
  • Height – generally forms a 1m to 2m thicket, but can climb trees, attaining great heights
  • Leaves – compound, alternate, finely toothed, 5-11 leaflets (generally 7 or 9)
  • Flowers – in clusters, white colour, small regular flowers, 5 petals
  • Fruit – rose hips, small, red, remaining on plant through winter
  • Blooms in – June and July
  • Other Features – can be distinguished from native roses by fringed bracts at base of each leaf stalk, and by arching stems
  • Likely to be found: open woods, gardens, fields, many habitats

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Physical Description:

  • Form – erect, branched stem
  • Height – 0.3m to 1.5m
  • Leaves – simple, alternate, lance-shaped, deeply lobed, spiny, may clasp stem
  • Flowers – generally in clusters, purple or pink colour
  • Fruit – small, dry, single-seeded (up to 4cm long), feathery structure attached to seed base
  • Blooms in – June through October
  • Other Features – extensive, creeping roots
  • Likely to be found: meadows, fields, crops, waste areas
  • NOTE: Thistles may be difficult to distinguish from one another – if you’re not sure, ask for help.

Invasive Alien Species Policy- Signed

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