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Zebra mussels intercepted by Saskatchewan Environment near Manitoba border

A boat contaminated with invasive zebra mussels was intercepted by Saskatchewan Environment inspectors and conservation officers near the Manitoba border. Saskatchewan Environment / Supplied

Saskatchewan Environment officials said swift action by inspectors and conservation officers prevented zebra mussels from entering the province.

The ministry said a boat contaminated with invasive zebra mussels was intercepted on Aug. 30 at a watercraft inspection station by Moosomin near the Manitoba border.

It was determined by conservation officers that the owner was an Alberta resident who recently purchased the boat in Manitoba.

Read more: Province asks boaters to help prevent spread of zebra mussels in Lake Manitoba

The boat was taken to Langenburg for decontamination.

The owner was issued a warning of non-compliance for failing to ensure proper decontamination.

The ministry said the incident is still under investigation.

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“Our inspectors have examined more than 2,000 boats this year,” Jeri Geiger, the ministry’s aquatic invasive species (AIS) co-ordinator, said in a release.

“To protect Saskatchewan’s waters from aquatic invasive species, it’s critically important that you check your boat for zebra mussels and other invasive species.”

Owners of all watercraft entering Saskatchewan must clean and inspect everything that comes into contact with water, including trailers and equipment.

They must also drain all on-board water and dry all watercraft and equipment, preferably for up to five days, before transporting.

The drain plug must also be removed while the watercraft is being transported.

Failure to remove the drain plug and not stopping at a watercraft inspection station could result in a $500 fine.

Read more: Aquatic invasive species remain a concern for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment

Aquatic invasive species remain a concern for the ministry.

This year, eight mobile decontamination units were deployed to check watercraft entering the province for AIS along with inspection stations in Estevan, Regina, Swift Current, Moosomin and Churchbridge.

Zebra mussels have been found in some Manitoba waterways, including the southern basin of Lake Winnipeg and in Sipiwesk Lake, while zebra mussel larva has been found in Cedar Lake, which is part of the Saskatchewan River system.

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None have yet been detected in Saskatchewan waterways.

Invasive mussels have also been discovered in Ontario and Quebec, as well as in 34 states, including Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Aquatic invasive species are plants, animals and invertebrates that enter ecosystems where they don’t occur naturally and officials said they are almost impossible to eliminate once established.

Other examples of AIS include quagga mussels, Prussian carp, flowering rush and the spiny waterflea.

Click to play video: 'Dangers of zebra mussels in Manitoba' Dangers of zebra mussels in Manitoba
Dangers of zebra mussels in Manitoba – Jun 29, 2021

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