Stop aquatic hitchhikers from entering Alberta

If you bring a boat from another province or state into Alberta, make sure to clean it, drain it, and dry it first to help keep aquatic invasive species out of our waterbodies.

Non-native aquatic invasive species, like rock snot algae, zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, have no natural predators – so they can spread very quickly.

Once introduced to a waterbody, these species are virtually impossible to eradicate. They can transform and damage entire ecosystems, impact native species, and threaten Alberta’s biodiversity. They can also damage your boat and equipment, and clog water-operated infrastructure like power plants, water intakes and irrigation canals.

Photo of a boat propeller covered with plant growth

Invasive species can quickly overrun boat propellers – and any other mechanical equipment in the water.

If you own or use a boat, you are on the frontlines of the fight to keep invasive species out of Alberta. Everyone who enjoys our lakes and rivers need to do their part to keep our aquatic ecosystems safe.

Know how to spot aquatic invasive species:

Rock Snot Algae

  • gooey algae that attaches itself to rocks, plans and other submerged surfaces
  • grows rapidly, covering stream beds and attracting aquatic insects to its sticky surface
  • reduces fish habitat quality and food availability

Zebra and quagga mussels

  • small clam-like, freshwater species takes over hard and soft surfaces like beaches, boat propellers, docks and irrigation pipes
  • reproduces rapidly causing significant ecological damage – one female mussel can produce 1 million eggs every year
  • destroys fish and wildlife habitats by removing plankton which increases toxic algal blooms and vegetation growth and affects fish spawning areas
Photo of a mussel

This quagga mussel was removed from a boat entering Alberta waters.

Eurasian water milfoil

  • Submerged, rooted plant with long narrow leaves and feathery look
  • Spreads quickly forming a large floating mat that prevents light from reaching the water, fish and plants beneath it
  • Alters water chemistry, damages habitat, and creates breeding ground for mosquitoes
  • Clogs irrigation pipes and gets caught in boat propellers and equipment

Stop the spread:

Aquatic invasive species can live up to 30 days outside of water. Inspect your boat, trailer, and equipment after each use and take these steps to properly clean, drain, and dry your boat.


  • Remove all plants, animals and mud at the access area or dock.
  • At home, soak your gear in a two per cent bleach solution for one minute (20 ml of bleach per litre of water).
  • Rinse, scrub or pressure-wash your boat away from storm drains, ditches or waterways.


  • Drain all water from bait buckets, coolers, livewells, bilges, ballasts, transom motors and internal compartments on land before leaving the waterbody.
  • Never release live bait into a waterbody or transfer aquatic plants or animals from waterbody to another.
  • Drain paddleboats by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments, and removing seats if necessary.


  • Dry all gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry.
  • Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.

For more information or to report something suspicious on your boat or equipment, call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).

Photo of a man demonstrating how to properly clean a boat

Always properly clean, drain, and dry your boat to protect it – and Alberta’s ecosystems – from invasive species.

One thought on “Stop aquatic hitchhikers from entering Alberta

  1. Pingback: July 13th and 14th is Family Fishing Weekend – no licence required | Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s