May 23, 2018 7:05 am
Updated: May 23, 2018 11:26 am

Millions of zebra shells wash up on shores of Lake Winnipeg

Winnipeg Beach was covered by scores of zebra mussels Tuesday.

Timm Bruch / Global News

An infestation of zebra mussels has visitors to parts of Lake Winnipeg wading in the invasive species.

Video from a Winnipegger this week shows thousands of mussels on the shores of the lake.

They’re mainly located in between the marina and the main beach.

Ira has been a resident of Winnipeg Beach for 25 years. He said on Tuesday that he’s never seen them this bad along his backyard beach.

“We’re used to pebbles and sea shells and sea glass,” Ira said, “but this is ugly. This is unsightly.

“I’m worried about the lake. I’m worried that we’re going to lose a precious resource: especially for the fishing industry and the recreational industry.”

The area in front of Downtown Winnipeg Beach has been largely spared from the invaders, but the water there has been made significantly clearer: a sure sign the mussels are present.

WATCH: Kevin Freeman shared this video, detailing the significant depth of the shells on shore.

Story continues below

They carpet areas of the beach, making it next to impossible for residents to walk without shoes or boots due to their sharp edges.

“They tried to clean and monitor the boats coming in from other areas, and they tried some experimentation in the marina,” Ira said. “But it didn’t work.

“Some of the kids that were swimming were getting cut by the shells.”

The species first appeared in the area in 2013. Because they reproduce so quickly, and are transported so easily, there is now little people can do to get rid of them. The community and the province did take steps in previous years to rid the lake of the mussels using liquid potash, but they have still spread rapidly.

They already appear by the thousands on Victoria Beach.

READ MORE: Popular Manitoba campground closed for the season over concerns of zebra mussels

Marine experts warn the species will force out other organisms and native species.

Freeman tweeted out another video showing the vast expanse of shells that had washed onto the beach.

On Tuesday, the mayor of Winnipeg Beach said he is thankful that, as of now, the species hasn’t completely taken over parts of the community’s main beach, like on Victoria Beach.

Comparatively, Winnipeg Beach is still lucky. But zebra mussels are constantly spreading.

“We’re fortunate that in our beach areas we don’t have a lot,” Mayor Tony Pimentel said. “[But] realistically I think we could get to those levels if we have strong winds.

“We are concerned, but it’s important people understand that with the zebra mussels there’s not much we can do.”

Winnipeg Beach mainly falls under the province’s jurisdiction.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.