Zebra Mussels. Photo by Amy Benson, USGS, Bugwood.orgFor the second of our 2023 Ask an Expert seminars, we will be looking at efforts underway across the watershed to identify, monitor and respond to aquatic invasive species.

Over the past few years, AIS specialists working with a number of Canadian and US agencies in the Rainy – Lake of the Woods watershed identified a list of 19 high priority alien invasive species that are either present or pose a risk of becoming established here. Programs are underway to track, manage and even attempt to eradicate invasive species in our watershed and today we’ll hear from some of the folks involved in this work.

At the same time, interest in citizen science is growing and there are a number of programs in place across the watershed for people who live here to measure water quality, record invasive species sightings, and monitor changes to the ecosystem.

In this interactive webinar, we’ll sit down for a discussion with Chris Herc, Amanda Weberg and Ashley Hoffmeister and the LOWDSA 2023 LakeSmart Team - Luc Boucha, Emilia Mastromatteo and Tessa Penner. We will learn about community-based science, monitoring, and action to stop aquatic invasive species across this international watershed.

We encourage audience participation for this webinar, so if you have questions or know of a good example of community-led science in action in your part of the watershed, we hope you’ll share this with us during the discussion. We look forward to having a good conversation and learning from one another about how we all can participate in science and action to support the health of our waters.

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About the Presenters

Chris Herc is Grand Council Treaty #3's Environmental Manger. Chris works to lead Grand Council’s the Guardians and Community Based Monitoring initiatives to build and elevate capacity for Indigenous led stewardship and protection of the lands and waters in Treaty #3. Through these initiatives Chris leads capacity building workshops and field monitoring with communities for species at risk, surface water quality, and invasive species. Chris has a B.Sc. in Environmental and Natural Resources with over ten years’ experience and has worked across Canada in the field of wildlife conservation before settling into his role at the Grand Council. He is always excited to work with the Treaty #3 communities and build new environmental monitoring initiatives and partnerships for the Nation.











Ashley Hoffmeister is the Executive Director of the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA), and she will be joined by this year's LakeSmart team, Luc Boucha, Emilia (Mimi) Mastromatteo and Tessa Penner.













Luc BouchaLuc Boucha is a second-year Concurrent Education student at Brock University and is happy to be home in Kenora for the summer, working with LOWDSA to help spread awareness on various environmental issues in and around Lake of the Woods. Luc looks forward to educating and working with the community to protect the environment and keep our lakes and waterways clean for generations to come.









Mimi MastromatteoMimi Mastromatteo was born and raised in Kenora, Ontario and grew up admiring the beauty this region holds. Mimi recently finished her first year as a biomedical science student and varsity swimmer at McGill University. She is thrilled to be back in Kenora for the summer and be a part of the LakeSmart team. Mimi looks forward to getting involved with the community, making new connections, and helping educate others on maintaining Lake of the Woods' longevity for future generations. 







Tessa PennerTessa Penner is going into her second year of an Education degree at the University of Victoria and is excited to be back in Kenora for the summer! Tessa looks forward to working with LOWDSA and learning from the amazing team of people. She is thrilled to be a part of a team that is working towards keeping Lake of the Woods one of the most beautiful regions, and is excited to try new things, learn plenty, and spend the summer outdoors!







thumb amanda weberg headshotAmanda Weberg is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Supervisor for Cook County, MN Soil and Water Conservation District in Grand Marais, MN. The position started eight years ago with Amanda developing AIS programming using the Minnesota AIS prevention aid. Prior to working in the wonderful world of AIS prevention Amanda has been a freshwater mussel histologist at Virginia Tech, a water chemist at the Center of Limnology in Boulder, CO, and a Lake Superior zooplankton and macroinvertebrate specialist. Amanda will give an overview of Cook County, Minnesota’s various AIS prevention plan objective implementations.










Please join us by registering here. Register Now

Note that the session will be recorded for rebroadcast to the LOWWSF website.