Don’t even think about it mussels!
Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon Territory have joined forces to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species and have formalized this commitment by signing a joint agreement to keep these threats at bay.
The Inter-provincial-territorial Agreement for Coordinated Regional Defence Against Invasive Species is a step towards enhanced partnerships between jurisdictions on both prevention and response of invasive species in Western Canada.
The agreement formalizes the partnership and sets specific goals and objectives. Working with other western jurisdictions will help maximize our success and provide greater strength in numbers across the region and enables increased coordination between jurisdictions in western Canada to share resources and coordinate planning related to both prevention and response to aquatic invasive species such as:
- pre-planning of watercraft inspection stations to maximize efforts on shared highway crossings; and
- increased ability to share resources from other provinces, for example people and expertise, to assist in a rapid response in the event of any mussel detection.
The initial focus of this agreement will be on aquatic invasive species, with an emphasis on zebra and quagga mussels because they are an imminent threat to all five jurisdictions. Zebra and quagga mussels pose a major threat to Western Canada’s aquatic ecosystems and water-operated infrastructure such as irrigation, hydropower, and municipal water systems.
These mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a waterbody, there are very limited control options. 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.
The provincial aquatic invasive species program is working on many initiatives to protect our waterways – like protecting Alberta’s irrigation network, inspecting boats that cross our southern and eastern borders and helping educate on how to properly rid boats of aquatic hitchhikers.
While governments and communities are working to stop aquatic invasive species from entering the province, all Albertans should be vigilant.
For more information or to report something suspicious on boats or equipment call 1-855-336-BOAT (2628).