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Environment

Receding lake levels reveal zebra mussels near Gimli

The invasive species are a concern area residents, for their negative affect on native fish species as well as people who use the beaches.

An unwelcome sight has washed upon the shore at Pelican Beach. Zebra mussels cover much of the sand just north of Gimli.

The invasive species can have an impact on algae, which in turn has an impact on fish who rely on it for food.

READ MORE: Millions of zebra shells wash up on shores of Lake Winnipeg

Stefan Tergesen owns a general store in Gimli. He fears the zebra mussels that have washed ashore there and at Pelican Beach could have a major impact on the environment.

“It’s really upsetting,” he said. “Anytime an invasive species move into an area there’s inevitably local species that get wiped out, and in the long run the environment is diminished.”

When Lake Winnipeg water levels fell with the arrival of autumn, it exposed millions of the mussels and the problems that wash ashore with them.

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“If you’ve got little kids running around, you go to the beach for the nice soft sand… so that’s a problem,” said 14-year-resident James Murison.

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While they are impossible to get rid of, lake-goers can take measures to limit the spread of the mussels.

READ MORE: Manitoba introduces new fine system for boaters in effort to stop invasive species

“Boaters need to make as much effort as they can to make sure that they bilge their boats right to try and keep the numbers down.” Tergesen said.

“But now that they are here, there is really no getting rid of them.”

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