Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week Aims to Protect Saskatchewan Waters
To help keep the province’s waterbodies free of zebra and quagga mussels, the Government of Saskatchewan is proclaiming May 8 to 14 Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week to emphasize the need for diligence when it comes to this critical issue.
“While monitoring done to date has not found zebra and quagga mussels in the province, we continue to work to increase awareness on this issue,” Environment Minister Herb Cox said. “Our government’s focus in 2016 and beyond will include increased watercraft inspections, decontaminating high-risk watercraft found entering the province and additional education and awareness efforts to help protect our fish populations and aquatic habitats.”
The provincial government is undertaking several initiatives to prevent invasive species from entering the province. This includes conducting roadside watercraft inspections and check-stops with a focus on the Manitoba and U.S. borders, as well as high-risk water bodies such as those that host organized watercraft events.
In addition, the ministry’s mobile decontamination units will be used in cases where invasive species are discovered on watercraft. The province supports several other initiatives that raise awareness about aquatic invasive species and the importance of prevention through the CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY Your Boat awareness program.
Saskatchewan is also partnering with the Canadian Border Services Agency to assist with preventing contaminated boats from entering this province from the United States.
The government is also reminding people to never release aquatic plants or pets into the wild or dump aquarium water into rivers, streams, lakes or storm sewers.
Invasive mussels and other species can be impossible to eliminate if they become established in a waterbody, and have the potential to severely impact aquatic habitats, fisheries, valuable recreational resources and water-related infrastructure. Mussels can clog water intake structures and increase costs significantly for irrigation, power generation and municipal water supply.
More information about fishing and aquatic invasive species can be found in the Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide, and online at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/fishing or www.environment.gov.sk.ca/invasivespecies.