Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week is May 5 to 11
The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed May 5 to 11 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week to raise awareness of the risks to our province's waterbodies.
“Protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species is a priority,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. “The province continues to focus on education, promoting the Clean, Drain, Dry program, roadside boat inspections, decontaminations and regular monitoring of Saskatchewan’s busy waterbodies.”
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are plant, animal and invertebrate species that pose significant threats to our waterways and include species such as flowering rush (plant), Prussian and Asian Carp (fish) and zebra and quagga mussels (invertebrates).
Prevention efforts for both zebra and quagga mussels have been successful to date, and no invasive mussels have been found within Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan has seven mobile watercraft decontamination units to support its AIS inspection and decontamination program. Three units will be deployed at fixed points along the Manitoba and U.S. borders, with the remainder strategically placed throughout the province. Conservation officers, other ministry staff, and provincial parks employees are trained to support this initiative.
“Over the last few years, we have amended provincial regulations to help protect our waters from aquatic invasive species,” Duncan said. “This includes requiring watercraft to have their boat plugs removed during transport to comply with the province’s Clean, Drain, Dry Program. All individuals transporting watercraft are also required to stop at inspection stations. Failure to do so may result in a $500 fine.”
AIS can be impossible to eliminate if they become established in a waterbody, and can cost millions of dollars annually to manage. They pose significant threats to infrastructure, hydropower facilities, wastewater plants, irrigation systems, fisheries and aquatic habitat, recreational activities, tourism and property values.
Saskatchewan partners with provincial organizations, Canada Border Services Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and provincial governments in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and the Yukon to strategically co-ordinate prevention.
A provincial AIS task force has also been established by the ministry to assist in the prevention effort. This group includes various government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders who are committed to helping the province prevent the introduction and spread of AIS.
More information about aquatic invasive species can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/invasive_species.