July 5, 2018
By Graham Randle
Candace Parks, the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Specialist representing the department of Sustainable Development with the Government of Manitoba gave a very coherent presentation July 27 at the Seniors Scene in Victoria Beach on the subject of Zebra Mussels.
Informative, and a little bit scary. And our Winnipeg River system is certainly not immune.
Not only are they a very real threat not only to municipal services, and water-front property values, but Zebra Mussels can also increase costs (and likely taxes) in affected communities.
In addition, they will disturb the aquatic environment and be detrimental to the recreational enjoyment of our beaches and water bodies.
Although zebra mussels are here to stay (yes, forever) in Lake Winnipeg, there’s still time to limit their spread to other water bodies across the province.
Public awareness and action is critical. To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, all water-users must take precautions before moving watercraft or equipment used in the water into another water body.
Here are the simple requirements to ensure our waters will remain safe from aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels :
- CLEAN and remove AIS and aquatic plants before leaving the shore of the water body.
- DRAIN all water from the watercraft (ex: ballast tanks, motor, live well, motor, compartments) and water-related equipment (ex: bait bucket, inflatables, paddles) before leaving the shore. ALL drain plugs must be kept out while transporting watercraft over land with the exception of plugs used in on board kitchen and washroom facilities.
- DRY completely or decontaminate water-related equipment before placed into another water body.
- DISPOSE of all bait used in a provincial-designated control zone water body in the trash prior to leaving the shore. For more information on control zones, visit Manitoba.ca/StopAIS
- DECONTAMINATEIF watercraft or water-related equipment were used last in a provincially-designated control zone and before placing into another water body.
To ensure not to introduce aquatic invasive species, any watercraft (including canoes, sail boats, jet skis, and power boats) and any equipment or gear used in the water (for example, fish gear, paddles, inflatables) must be free of aquatic invasive species, aquatic plants and mud before they are used in any water body in Manitoba. If you are unsure, visit any of the 6 provincial watercraft inspection locations around Manitoba. They are there to help ensure you are not introducing anything into our waters – and the service is free of charge.
Did you know that watercraft, and water-related equipment that were last used in Control Zones, which includes Lake Winnipeg and the Winnipeg River must be decontaminated before they are used in another water body ? This will prevent spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea to other water bodies.
If you need to be decontaminated, the Government of Manitoba’s Watercraft Inspection Program can help!
For additional information, or for the schedule and locations of the Water Inspection Program, please visit Manitoba.ca/StopAIS
And take a look at https://www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org/zebra-mussels-101