March 18, 2019 12:53 pm

Saskatchewan waterbodies remain free of invasive mussels

WATCH ABOVE: Invasive species in Saskatchewan waters (from July 2018).

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Officials said ongoing prevention efforts were key last year in ensuring Saskatchewan waters remain free of invasive mussels.

Testing was done on 121 waterbodies in the province during 2018, with no confirmed findings of zebra and quagga mussels.

READ MORE: Receding lake levels reveal zebra mussels near Gimli


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Aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels pose a serious threat to our lakes and waterways,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said in a statement Monday.

“Prevention is the most effective way to control their spread, as they can be impossible to eliminate if they become established in a water body.”

Over 2,900 watercraft were checked during the year, with 830 of those identified as high-risk and requiring further detailed inspection.

Fifty underwent decontamination and five were found to be carrying aquatic invasive species (AIS).

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

Those watercraft were decontaminated and quarantined before being allowed onto water bodies in the province.

“Our government focuses on public awareness through education and targeted signage about our Clean, Drain, Dry program, roadside boat inspections, decontaminations and regular monitoring of Saskatchewan’s busy water bodies,” Duncan said.

It is mandatory for people transporting watercraft in Saskatchewan to remove the boat plug, stop at watercraft inspection stations and submit to an inspection.

Failure to do so can result in a $500 fine.

It is also illegal to transport prohibited aquatic invasive species into the province.

READ MORE: Calls made for 24-hour mandatory boat inspections at Osoyoos border crossing to combat spread of invasive mussels

Zebra mussels and quagga mussels are almost impossible to eliminate if they become established in waterways.

They can severely impact aquatic habitat, fisheries, recreational resources and water-related infrastructure.

Invasive mussels have been found in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, and 34 states, including Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.

Zebra mussel larva has previously been found in Cedar Lake, Man., which is part of the Saskatchewan River system.

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