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Keeping Alberta invasive mussel free

Posted on April 11, 2024 by Sunny South News

Zebra mussels are one of the world’s most invasive aquatic species. These fingernail-sized, freshwater invertebrates have a hardshell and look a bit like a clam. 

An infestation of zebra mussels can cause millions of dollars of damage, compromising water intakes, dams, water treatment plants and other infrastructure. Commonly spread by boats travelling across borders, zebra mussels pose a threat to Alberta. 

For nearly 10 years, Alberta’s inspection program has kept Alberta zebra mussel free by inspecting boats at international and provincial borders. 

Zebra mussels have been detected in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Alarmingly, there has been an increase in the spread of zebra mussels in Manitoba and neighbouring Idaho. And recently, Parks Canada moved to restrict watercraft in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park. 

In order to confront this growing threat, Alberta’s provincial budget increases the number of inspection stations, inspectors and expands the K-9 dog inspection team. 

Our government is also calling on the federal government to require the Canadian Border Services Agency to conduct mandatory inspections and decontaminations of all boats entering Canada from the United States. 

Alberta will also launch a new task force to examine further restrictions on transporting boats, increased fines, and other actions that can be taken to build a firewall between this invasive species and our lakes, rivers, and infrastructure. 

You can act too. Remember to clean, dry, and drain your watercraft, trailer, and gear and always stop at boat inspection stations, which have been mandatory in Alberta since 2015. 

Rebecca Schulz, 

Minister of Environment and 

Protected Areas

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