Boaters, anglers and industries alike are all being asked to pull together and keep aquatic invasive species out of the province. 

"We're ramping it up as much as we possibly can," shared Tyler Vanstone, Fisheries Technician with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. "We're trying to find support through different crown corporations as well as through different branches of the government trying to get them all to work together so we can combat aquatic invasive species as much as humanly possible."

"The consensus is that it's amazing that we don't have them here in Saskatchewan already considering that we have so many neighbours that do. As an organization, we're trying to do as much as we can to spread the word and get people to change their habits in ways that are going to prevent those from spreading to Saskatchewan."

There have been confirmed cases of Zebra mussels in Ontario, Manitoba, North Dakota, Montana and another 34 states. 

Zebra mussels along with quagga mussels are not native to this area, in fact, they are not even native to this continent.

"They come from eastern Europe, I think they originated around the Black Sea area and they really can change aquatic communities." 

"Not only do they attach to any solids that are underwater, whether they be rocks, logs or even other native species like clams, they will completely cover anything underwater."

The problem grows when the mussels filter out material in the water that is food for young native fish in the waters. Those young fish depend on that food to survive. 

"The more mussels there are, the less food there is in the water for other things on the lower orders to eat and it can affect the entire food chain from the bottom up."

It's not just the marine life that can be affected. Mussels will attach themselves to anything underwater, including water intakes for industries such as the Boundary Power Plant. 

"They use that water to cool. If there were zebra mussels in the water, it would fill up their intake pipes so fast that they would have to completely change how they intake water. And it could really affect their bottom line."

"That's something that we're really trying to bring to the attention of all the different industries in the province that draw water. Because if you draw water, in the province of Saskatchewan, you do not want zebra mussels. Talk to any company, any industry that operates in a place that has them, it's a nightmare. They spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars every year just to keep themselves able to draw water. These mussels will invest anything including pipes or any kind of underwater infrastructure like intakes, outputs, dams."

READ MORE: Clean, Drain & Dry: Keep Invasive Aquatic Species Out of Saskatchewan

 

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