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 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 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 in the Red River in the spring of 2015.

Zebra Mussels are small, 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.

Zebra Mussels called Veligers, have been detected in the Manitoban portion of the Red River in June 2015.

Zebra Mussels can be extremely hard to find. Adult Zebra Mussels have a shell and can strongly attach to watercraft and other water-based equipment. They can survive out of water for 7 to 30 days depending on temperature and humidity. Veligers, are invisible to the naked eye. They can be inadvertently spread in water carried in un-drained watercraft and water-based equipment.

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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