Conservation and Water Stewardship

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What are Invasive Species?

Organisms (animals, plants, parasites, viruses etc) not native to a region that when introduced, either intentionally or accidentally, out-compete native species for available resources. Invasive species become successful in their new environments due to their high reproductive rates and absence of native predators and diseases. Invasive species can have negative economic, social, environmental and human health implications.

What are Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)?

An aquatic invasive species (AIS) can either live in freshwater or marine environments. The majority of the species of concern to Manitoba, such as Zebra and Quagga mussels, Spiny Waterflea, Rusty Crayfish and Asian Carp are freshwater species. Manitoba currently has 15 aquatic invasive species. This number is small compared to the number of aquatic invasive species found in the Great Lakes (>200) and Mississippi (> 120) drainage basins.

Zebra Mussels in Manitoba

Zebra Mussels were confirmed in Lake Winnipeg in the fall of 2013 and the Red River and Cedar Lake 2015.

Zebra Mussels are small (1 - 3 cm), clam-like aquatic animals that are a significant environmental and economic concern to Manitoba. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Zebra Mussels have caused millions of dollars in damage to the Laurentian Great Lakes area and have cost the North American economy billions of dollars to control. Despite the successful eradication of Zebra Mussels in the four treated harbours in Lake Winnipeg in 2014, Zebra Mussels were found elsewhere in the south basin and are successfully reproducing. Lake Winnipeg is in the early stages of invasion by Zebra Mussels – eradication is no longer an option.

Adult Zebra Mussels have a shell and can strongly attach to water-based conveyances such as watercraft, trailers, water-based aircraft, ORVs and other water-related equipment. They can survive out of water for 7 to 30 days depending on temperature and humidity.

Larval Zebra Mussels, called veligers, passively move downstream by water movement and are invisible to the naked eye. Veligers rely on water to survive thus they can be inadvertently carried in small amounts of water transported by un-drained watercraft, water-based aircraft, ORVs and water-based equipment such as bait buckets.

Once Zebra Mussels become established they cannot be eradicated, so it is extremely important to stop their spread.

An adult Zebra Mussel

Microscopic Zebra Mussel veligers found in a small sample of water

All Water Users – Stop the Spread of Zebra Mussels

CLEAN + DRAIN + DRY your watercraft, trailer and all water-related equipment and
DISPOSE of any unwanted bait in the trash.

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