Suspect Zebra Mussel found in Singush Lake in Duck Mountain Provincial Park Singush Lake Closed to Day-use Boaters

- June 27, 2017

Where is this recent zebra mussel detection?

A single suspect sample was collected from a retrievable substrate sampler placed in Singush Lake during the 2016 open water season.

Singush Lake is located in the south eastern part of Duck Mountain Provincial Park approximately 68 km north west of Dauphin.

The lake is 242 ha with a maximum depth 10.10 m and a mean depth 4.77 m. This is the first detection of zebra mussels in the Parkland region of Manitoba.

Singush Lake v3.jpg

Why is it being called a 'suspect' zebra mussel?

The sample pulled off the substrate sampler was very small, dry and damaged. Mussel experts could not identify the specimen as a zebra mussel. However DNA analysis of the sample done by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada came back positive for zebra mussels.

The zebra mussel is still being treated as suspect because the sample may have been contaminated from the lab procedures used to analyse the samplers. In addition, from experience with the speed in which the south basin of Lake Winnipeg is being invaded by zebra mussels, Sustainable Development wants to err on the side of caution and undergo the proper procedures when an aquatic invasive species such as a zebra mussel is found in a water body where it has not been found before.

How could zebra mussels get into Singush Lake?

The Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Singush Lake are recreationally popular areas for Manitoban, Canadian and International visitors, boaters and fishers. Although Sustainable Development likely will not be able to determine with complete certainty how zebra mussels got to Singush Lake, staff suspect zebra mussels were introduced into the lake by un-cleaned and/or un-drained watercraft and/or water-related equipment. The overland movement of watercraft and water-related equipment are the primary way aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels get moved from one water body to another.

How is Manitoba Sustainable Development going to proceed with this recent finding of a ‘suspect’ zebra mussel in Singush Lake?

Given how quickly zebra mussels can establish in a body of water, Manitoba Sustainable Development are taking a precautionary approach and treating this finding as “positive” for zebra mussel until subsequent sampling confirms this finding or, alternatively, proves otherwise.

Since Sustainable Development is taking the precautionary approach, we are initiating a Rapid Response protocol. Since the ‘suspect’ zebra mussel has been confirmed by DNA analysis, Sustainable Development staff will work to determine if there is a presence of zebra mussels in Singush Lake. If additional evaluation confirms the presence of zebra mussels, we will then work to determine the extent of the invasion. To this end, staff have already visited Singush Lake on April 18th, 2017 to assess any available infrastructure for zebra mussels. Items such as docks that were pulled up on shore were inspected to see if any zebra mussels could be seen or felt. No adult zebra mussels were found during this preliminary inspection.

Department staff will continue its evaluation of Singush Lake. Given the amount of boating traffic Singush Lake receives, and the frequency at which boaters move to other water bodies, Sustainable Development staff are exploring possible management options to contain the spread of zebra mussels from Singush Lake to other water bodies. This information will be updated as it becomes available.

Why is the province undergoing a Rapid Response protocol?

When invasive species are suspected or detected, implementing a Rapid Response protocol is critical. The generalized invasion curve below shows the time line of an invasion and the appropriate actions to be taken depending on where you are in the invasion curve. Prevention, as indicated by the invasion curve, is the most cost-effective and ecological beneficial option and is our best line of defense.

Depending on what stage a new invasion is in, the options available to manage that invasion will vary.  Manitoba Sustainable Development is currently in the process of determining where in the invasion curve Singush Lake is. Further monitoring is needed to determine its invasion status. Manitoba Sustainable development will be taking a precautionary approach to contain any potential spread from Singush Lake to other water bodies.

invasive-species-prevention-curve-GRAPH.jpg
Figure courtesy of North American Invasive Species Network, http://naisn.org/information/

What can I do to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels?

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are threatening Manitoba waters.  Non-native species such as zebra mussels cause major negative economic, environmental and social impacts to boaters, fishers, recreation water users and industries.

Preventing the spread of AIS such is a shared responsibility and requires a collective effort on behalf of all Manitobans and visitors who use and enjoy Manitoba’s waters. Preventing the spread of AIS is the most cost-effective way of managing AIS.

To prevent the spread of AIS, the Manitoba government has passed a law that requires all water users to take the following steps when moving water-related craft and equipment (e.g. boats, trailers, docks, fishing gear, hunting gear, and recreational water equipment) from one body of water into another body of water. These are the general cleaning requirements:

CLEAN and remove any AIS and aquatic plants from watercraft, float planes, ATVs, trailers, and all water-related equipment (e.g. fishing gear, ropes, anchors).

DRAIN all water from the watercraft (e.g. ballast tanks, motor, live well, compartments) and water-related equipment (e.g. bait bucket). All drain plugs must be pulled out while transporting watercraft.

DRY completely (or decontaminate) all water-related equipment and any hard-to-drain compartments that come in contact with the water.

DISPOSE of bait and worms in the trash.  Refer to Manitoba Angler’s Guide for more information on bait use.

Please note visitors to Manitoba must ensure their watercraft, trailer, vehicle, and water-related equipment are free of AIS, aquatic plants, mud, and any standing water before entering a Manitoba water body.

Manitoba also has several control zones in which AIS have been found or expected to spread. Control zones ensure that in addition to the general cleaning requirements mentioned above (Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose), that all watercraft and water-related equipment leaving a control zone water body are decontaminated BEFORE they are placed into another water body. 

For more information on how to clean, drain, dry and dispose, control zone invaded water bodies and decontamination steps, please visit Manitoba.ca

What is the Province doing to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels in Manitoba?

The Province of Manitoba has taken strong steps to prevent the spread of AIS in Manitoba. There is comprehensive provincial AIS legislation under the provincial Water Protection Act in addition to federal AIS legislation under and the federal Fisheries Act.

Preventing the spread of AIS is a shared responsibility and requires all collective efforts on behalf of all Manitobans and visitors who use and enjoy Manitoba’s waters.

Under the provincial Water Protection Act, people using conveyances such as watercraft, water-related aircraft, off road vehicles (ORVs), and water-related equipment must take steps to ensure they are not possessing or transporting AIS such as zebra mussels. The general cleaning requirement (clean, drain, dry and dispose), are simple steps everyone using conveyances or water-related equipment in Manitoba’s water bodies must do by law to prevent the spread of AIS. Stricter measures in addition to clean, drain, dry and dispose are also required for water-related equipment and conveyances such as watercraft being removed from AIS invaded water bodies such as Lake Winnipeg. If water-users such as boaters, water-related aircraft and ORVs incorporate these simple requirements, the risk of spreading AIS such as zebra mussels is greatly reduced.

Manitoba also has a Watercraft Inspection program whose primary goal to contain the spread of zebra mussels. Watercraft inspectors and decontamination units will be stationed at key locations within Manitoba with the goal of intersecting the overland movement of watercraft which is the largest vector for spreading AIS. The Watercraft Inspection program normally runs from June until October.

For more information regarding cleaning requirements for watercraft and water-related equipment, and the Watercraft Inspection program, please visit Manitoba.ca

Is the Province going to undertake an eradication attempt like what was done in Lake Winnipeg?

Manitoba Sustainable Development is taking a step-wise approach by undergoing the Rapid Response protocol. The protocol will help to determine what stage this possible new invasion is in. The results of further evaluation of the lake will help guide management options. In these early stages, the important first steps are to confirm or refute the presence of zebra mussels in Singush Lake and to contain the possible spread from Singush to other water bodies.  There are many challenges to eradication as past experience shows. In the past, it was tried, was costly and did not result in eradication in Lake Winnipeg.

Are there any Aquatic Invasive Species legislation that I need to be aware of?

The federal and provincial governments amended the Federal Fisheries Act and The Water Protection Act respectively to provide a suite of regulatory tools to prevent the introduction and control the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Federal and provincial AIS legislation has been in effect since 2015.

To learn about Manitoba's aquatic invasive species legislation under The Water Protection Act, visit:

Legislation:
https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/_pdf.php?cap=W65

Regulations:
http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/regs/index.php?act=W65

To learn about the Federal AIS Regulation under the Federal Fisheries Act, visit:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-121/FullText.html

What can I do if I find zebra mussels?

If you think you have found a zebra mussel in a water body other than Lake Winnipeg and the Red River, take the following steps:

  • Take several pictures and note the exact location (GPS location if possible);
  • Collect and place specimens in a sealed plastic bag and keep the specimens cool, or store in rubbing alcohol; and
  • Contact the Aquatic Invasive Species program by:
What can I do if I want more information on aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels?

For more information on aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels visit Manitoba.ca, or call the Aquatic Invasive Species hotline at 1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470) (toll-free).