Province warns boaters about invasive zebra, quagga mussels
No zebra mussels in Saskatchewan yet, but they've already turned up in Lake Winnipeg
The province is warning residents to inspect their boats for mussels before entering Saskatchewan lakes and waterways.
Zebra mussels have been discovered in Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba and the province has been having a hard time dealing with them.
They, also with the similar-appearing quagga mussels, are invasive species that will attach themselves to a boat.
There hasn't been any sign of either species of mussels in Saskatchewan, but the provincial government is taking precautionary measures.
Chad Doherty, a fisheries biologist with the Ministry of the Environment, is working to prevent them from invading the province.
"Once an invasive species is introduced, it is very difficult to control or eradicate those. So therefore the key is prevention and early detection."
Native mussels don't attach themselves, however invasive mussels do. The invasive mussels can choke out native species.
Invasive species could also affect aquatic habitats and fisheries, influence recreational property values and clog pipes.
Doherty has some advice for boaters about prevention when it comes to their boats.
"The message is clean, drain, dry. So make sure there's no water on board, no vegetation, no mud. And in between waters within the province, make sure you go through this inspection process each time, and wash with hot water to prevent any spread should something be here," said Doherty.
Doherty says sniffer dogs and potash are being used in Alberta and Manitoba to deter the species.
According to Doherty, the government will monitor those efforts, evaluate, and then see what the best fit for Saskatchewan may be in the future.
With files from Ryan Pilon