Alberta Defends Against Invasive Mussels

Mussel clogged propeller from Lake Mead, Arizona. Credit: National Park Service
Mussel clogged propeller from Lake Mead, Arizona. Credit: National Park Service

Boat inspections, water monitoring, and education are protecting Alberta’s waterbodies and infrastructure from non-native species.

The province has ramped up inspections for invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels on boats and other watercraft to prevent major damage to Alberta’s waterways. Four inspection stations on major entry points will target boats entering Alberta.

“Albertans want to enjoy the natural beauty of our province and we want to make sure this continues for generations to come. We all have a responsibility to protect our lakes and rivers and that includes making sure we’re not importing species that can damage our environment.”

~ Robin Campbell, Minister, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

“Alberta’s provincial parks are an important destination for many boaters so we must do everything we can to prevent infestations from watercraft. Protecting lakes at our parks now will help ensure they remain destinations of choice long into the future.”

~ Dr. Richard Starke, Minister, Tourism, Parks and Recreation

In addition to the inspection stations, the program also includes:

  • a toll-free hotline, 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT) where people can report anything suspicious on boats and watercraft or
  • ask questions about the program;
  • an education program that encourages people to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” boats and other equipment every time they
  • come out of the water; and
  • a monitoring program of more than 70 waterbodies for invasive mussels.

Aquatic invasive species, in particular zebra mussels and quagga mussels, have been identified as a significant risk to Alberta’s aquatic infrastructure and ecosystems. Once introduced to a waterbody, non-native mussels are virtually impossible to eradicate. An infestation of invasive mussels is estimated to cost the province more than $75 million annually – including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities.

AESRD logo