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Saskatchewan casts wider net to fend off aquatic invasive species
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 9, 2018 12:14PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, May 9, 2018 6:26PM CST
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan government says a total of six mobile watercraft decontamination units will be used this year to prevent aquatic invasive species from making a home in the province's lakes and rivers.
The Ministry of Environment has released some details of this year's inspection program, which will see an increase in the number of boats checked for creatures such as zebra mussels.
Out of all the inspections done in 2017, 307 watercraft received detailed checks by conservation officers and 119 needed decontamination.
More than 90 locations were also sampled last year for alien species through a provincial monitoring program.
To date, no invasive mussels have been found in Saskatchewan.
The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed May 6 to 12 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week to raise awareness of the risks to the province's water bodies.
It's mandatory for people transporting boats on all public roads in Saskatchewan to stop at inspection stations and ensure drainage plugs in their craft are taken out while they're being moved.
Failure to do so may result in a $500 fine, while illegally transporting aquatic invasive species is subject to a separate $500 fine.
Environment Minister Dustin Duncan has said aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a serious threat to lakes and waterways in Western Canada and prevention is of the utmost importance.
Earlier this year, the City of Winnipeg announced $1 million in funding to prepare for what it says is the inevitable arrival of zebra mussels at the city's drinking water source.
The money will be spent on control measures to prevent the mussels from clogging the intake structure at Shoal Lake by 2019. City officials said it involves the use of chlorine injections to kill them.