Gateway Gazette

Hitchhiking Mussels Denied Access to Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake boat inspection

 

Alberta’s watercraft inspectors intercepted a boat carrying invasive mussels at Sylvan Lake over the long weekend.

The contaminated boat did not make it into Sylvan Lake. However, the close call is a reminder to Albertans to clean, drain and dry their boats to prevent these tenacious mussels from damaging Alberta’s valuable aquatic ecosystems.

The boat was discovered during one of the province’s now-mandatory inspections. The owner was fully co-operative, and specially trained Transport Officers will decontaminate the boat at no cost to the owner.

Three summer villages at Sylvan Lake – Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold and Birchcliff – have been highly supportive of efforts to prevent aquatic invasive species from being introduced into the area, and are providing program support in partnership with the province.

While governments and communities are working to stop mussels from entering the province, all Albertans should be vigilant. For more information or report something suspicious on your boat or equipment call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).

Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a waterbody, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. 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.

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