If you’re taking a boat across Alberta’s borders this summer, we’re asking for your help to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
These species – which include rock snot algae, zebra and quagga mussels, and Eurasian watermilfoil – have no natural predators. Once these organisms get into a water body, they are very hard to eradicate, and can cause serious damage to ecosystems and fish species, boats, and infrastructure – including power plants and irrigation canals.
These species have already infested certain water bodies as far west as Lake Winnipeg and the United States – so it’s important that we keep them from crossing our borders. Last year, we set up a voluntary inspection station and a hotline number – 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT) – and asked boaters to report anything suspicious.
Our efforts have paid off: a call to the hotline in May helped us stop a boat infested with quagga mussels before it crossed the border. Although this is good news, it’s also a reminder of our vulnerability.
This summer, we’ll have four inspection stations on major highways coming into Alberta. These stations are set up at commercial vehicle weigh stations outside of Coutts and Crowsnest Pass in the south and Dunmore and Vermilion along in the east. These inspections will help protect boats as well as our native ecosystems.
Here are the steps we need all boaters to take to help us stop aquatic hitchhikers:
- Taking your boat out of the province? Call the hotline number to schedule a free inspection.
- Know how to recognize these species – check out the gallery (above) and read more about them here.
- Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat every time it comes out of the water! Here are the steps you need to follow.
- Report it. If you find anything suspicious while cleaning your boat, call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).