The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment needs your help to prevent stowaways from entering the province’s lakes and waterways this summer.
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, attach themselves to boats, trailers and other watercraft, hitching rides from one lake to another and from one province to another.
The recent confirmation of zebra mussels in Lake Winnipeg has only heightened concerns for Saskatchewan. Both zebra and quagga mussels are prolific invasive species that can spread rapidly once established, causing irreversible damage to aquatic ecosystems and to the native species that rely on these habitats. In addition, the small mussels can clog water intakes and have a considerable economic impact on municipal, agricultural and industrial activities.
While these mussels have not been found in Saskatchewan, the ministry is currently working on a plan to help address the management and prevention of aquatic invasive species in the province.
As a result, the province will continue focusing on prevention, raising public awareness and building partnerships with other agencies and non-government organizations to facilitate educational efforts and the development of a monitoring network for high-use lakes in the province.
Updated information has already been included in the 2014 Anglers’ Guide, with plans to improve website content and post more signage at boat launches on high-use lakes.
Saskatchewan conservation officers will pay particular attention to boats and trailers coming from out of province. This will involve conducting watercraft inspections and educating boat owners on the threat of invasive species and the importance of prevention.
Before returning home from out of province, coming to visit Saskatchewan or moving between waters within the province – please remember to CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY your watercraft and all related equipment to ensure it is free of invasive species. CLEAN and inspect watercraft, trailer and gear. Remove all plants, animals and mud. Rinse using high pressure, hot tap water 50oC (120oF).
DRAIN all water from the watercraft including motor, livewell and bilge. Flush with hot tap water, preferably 50oC (120oF) and leave plugs out during transport and storage.
DRY your watercraft, equipment and all related gear completely, preferably for at least five days while leaving compartments open to dry.
More information on invasive species and how to prevent their introduction can be found on the ministry website at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/invasivespecies.