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FIGHT AGAINST ZEBRA MUSSELS

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PROVINCE KICKS OFF PHASE TWO OF FIGHT AGAINST ZEBRA MUSSELS
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Watercraft Inspection Program in Operation, Canine Unit Available: Minister Nevakshonoff

Manitoba has launched its detection and awareness campaign in the fight against zebra mussels and will more than double the number of staff and equipment available for detection since zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Winnipeg, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff announced today.

“Fighting the expansion of this highly invasive species takes a concerted effort by everyone who enjoys our lakes and rivers,” Minister Nevakshonoff said. “We took an aggressive approach to control zebra mussels last year in four harbours, but mussels survived outside the harbours, so now more than ever, we need everyone’s support and vigilance.”

To assist with control efforts this year, the aquatic invasive species (AIS) program has once again launched its annual watercraft inspection program. This program has been greatly expanded since 2013 and now has six decontamination units available, the minister said. The goal is to prevent the introduction of new AIS into Manitoba while helping to contain the spread of zebra mussels within the province, he added.

Watercraft inspectors have taken decontamination units to locations such as the Emerson and Boissevain border crossings, and the Selkirk Park and Pine Falls boat launches, inspecting more than 200 watercraft and performing eight decontaminations from May 21 to 25, Minister Nevakshonoff said.

“This year, a detection dog is also available to assist with determining zebra mussel presence on watercraft and water-related equipment,” the minister said. “Following a successful training period, the dog was deployed this past weekend at Emerson and will assist at high-risk and high-traffic watercraft inspection stations and border crossings in Manitoba when available.”

Last year, Manitoba introduced proposed legislation with a number of measures that would be specifically aimed at preventing the spread of zebra mussels and complement federal regulatory changes. The new provincial AIS legislation would:

prohibit the possession, transportation and release of aquatic invasive species;
require trailered watercraft to stop and allow an inspection of the watercraft and water-based gear at watercraft inspection stations; and
allow the designation of control zones, where restrictions and prohibitions can be established in specific areas to prevent the introduction or control the spread of an AIS.
Increased awareness of zebra mussels led to the recent report of them on a private dock in the Red River, near Selkirk Park, the minister said. Adult mussels were found on the float underneath a dock and appeared to be dead. They were likely from last year, although one was still firmly attached to the dock’s float. This is the first evidence of zebra mussels in the Manitoba portion of the Red River, he noted, adding that further monitoring will take place to determine whether they have successfully established in the northern portion of the Red River.

Everyone is asked to do their part by:

cleaning and removing any visible aquatic plants, AIS or mud from the watercraft, trailer and all water-related gear;
draining water from compartments; and
drying all equipment and any hard-to-drain compartments that have contacted the water with a dry towel or sponge before it is used in any other body of water.

To report a zebra mussel or any other AIS from a new location, take pictures and visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/waterstewardship/stopais/or call toll-free 1-877-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470).

ALL WATERCRAFT HAVE TO BE INSPECTED BY THE PARK BEFORE ENTERING ANY WATER BODY IN THE PARK. INSPECTIONS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, CALL 204-848-7275. INSPECTIONS TAKE LESS THAN 15 MINUTES.

Thanks for you support to protect Clear Lake.

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