The Government of Alberta is committed to protecting and maintaining healthy and sustainable fish populations and aquatic ecosystems throughout the province, and the way we work as public servants reflects this.
Under the Decontamination Protocol for Watercraft and Equipment, government employees who work in water must clean, drain and dry their gear before moving to another waterbody. This government-wide protocol, which applies to all staff members who work in or near water, was developed to prevent the spread of Whirling Disease, other fish diseases and aquatic invasive species.
Decontamination protocols are an important part of protecting Alberta’s waters. This is clear when we look at lessons learned by government workers in other jurisdictions. For example, when Whirling Disease was first detected in Colorado, the government eventually realized the very people who were monitoring for the disease were actually contributing to its spread.
While Government of Alberta staff are cleaning, draining and drying their equipment to protect our waters, anyone who spends time in or on Alberta waters is advised to take the same steps. Natural fish populations and aquatic ecosystems in Alberta are vulnerable to infection from outside sources. Learn why three simple steps – Clean, Drain, Dry – are so effective here
Whether your aquatic pursuits are professional or purely recreational, Alberta waters are ours and ours to protect. Here are some tips and tricks from government staff on how to quickly and effectively Clean, Drain, Dry your equipment:
Evan Hillman, Research Agrologist, Agriculture and Forestry
- Plan ahead, if you don’t submerge items in water you limit the need to Clean, Drain, Dry.
- Try dedicating a weekend to enjoying a single waterbody, rather than many different ones.
- Dry bags are a great way to limit gear exposure to water or organic matter.
- Always carry ultra-absorbent towels – they’re great for drying off clean gear.
Don Wehlage, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, Alberta Environment and Parks
- Do not use felt sole waders; they do not dry properly and can transport parasites. Remember to check the bottom of your wader boots or shoes for any mud that may get trapped in the tread or drainage holes.
- Remove all organic matter (e.g., weeds and mud) from your gear and watercraft before leaving a waterbody. This makes drying your watercraft quicker and leaves things where they came from.
- If you left your towels at home, use the sun to dry your equipment.
Jenny Burgess, Natural Resource Management Specialist, Alberta Environment and Parks
- Clean, Drain, Dry is simple. and if it’s incorporated into your daily practices, it doesn’t take much extra time. Added bonus: your gear will last longer.
- Dry all equipment completely whenever possible before launching into another waterbody to prevent the spread of whirling disease.
Alberta waters are ours! Let’s enjoy them for generations to come!