Aquatic Invasive Species Program Helping Prevent Spreading Of Non-Native Species Into Alberta

  • Jul. 17, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Pipestone Flyer

Submitted by the Office of The Honourable Diana McQueen, MLA

The Alberta Government is working to stop the spread of invasive mussels into provincial waterways.

Alberta’s water resources are important to our province’s long-term success and we want to ensure the quality and quantity of our water remains strong for the future.

That’s why the province has established four inspection stations to check boats and other watercraft for invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels. The inspections – at Coutts, Crowsnest Pass, Dunmore, and Vermilion – will help keep these non-native species out of Alberta’s waterways where they can cause significant damage to water ecosystems and infrastructure.

Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a waterbody, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. The province estimates that an infestation of invasive mussels in Alberta could cost the province more than $75 million annually – including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities.

Preventing these species from making their way to Alberta’s waters is the most effective way of maintaining the province’s water resources and native species. In addition to boat inspections, the province-wide program to stop the spread of these species into Alberta’s waters includes:

• A toll-free hotline, 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT) where people can report anything suspicious on boats and watercraft or ask questions about the program;

• An education program that encourages people to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” boats and other equipment every time they come out of the water; and,

• A monitoring program of more than 70 waterbodies for invasive mussels.

The aquatic invasive species program is truly a collaboration of stakeholders including government, the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association, the Alberta Lake Management Society, the Alberta Invasive Species Council, TransAlta, Alberta Summer Villages Association, and Watershed and Planning Advisory Councils.

Everyone has a responsibility to protect our lakes and rivers and that includes making sure we’re not importing species that can damage our environment. Working together we can keep these unwanted animals and plants for harming our water infrastructure and ensure healthy aquatic ecosystems for generations to come.

If you have any questions about this issue or any other, please feel free to contact my office at 780-542-3355 or email draytonvalley.devon@assembly.ab.ca.