Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Plan for treating zebra mussels on Lake Winnipeg to begin next week.

  • Print
A group of zebra mussels taken from Lake Erie.

ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

A group of zebra mussels taken from Lake Erie.

Zebra mussels found to have infested harbours in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg now have a date with death.

A treatment plan to eradicate the parasite begins next at Winnipeg Beach and ends June 12 at Balsam Bay Harbour on the other side of the lake.

Much of what the province has planned is dependent on the weather and the breakup of ice on the lake, although the lake does not have to be totally ice free for the eradication plan to begin, the province said Tuesday.

The province plans to blast the four affected harbours with liquid potash (potassium) in a bid to choke out the aquatic pests and stop them from spreading.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said the province will spend an extra $100,000 above the $500,000 already planned to accommodate commercial fishers.

Mackintosh said to lessen the impact fishers will still be allowed to use harbours as they are being treated. Rather than using a stationary curtain across the mouth of the harbour as originally planned, the province will now install a gated silt curtain that will keep the liquid potash in the harbour, but can be opened to allow fishers to get in and out of the harbour.

The gated curtain will also allow the Coast Guard and search and rescue boats out onto the lake. They will have clear signage and be supervised and operated by staff according to operational guidelines provided to the Harbour Authority.

The only exception is Balsam Bay Harbour, which is too shallow to accommodate a movable curtain so a full containment curtain will be installed.

As soon as boats passed through more liquid potash will be injected into the harbour to keep the treatment level at a concentration of 100 parts per million 24 hours a day during the treatment period.
The province’s project coordinator Rob Nedotiafko said use of the gated silt curtain will allow fishers quick exit and access to the harbour.

He said the province wants to install the first curtain at Winnipeg Beach as soon as the ice threat passes.
"We’re watching and reducing  the potential for any ice moving into the harbours," Nedotiafko said. "The timing of the season is working out well as the ice is moving off the lake at a time when we’re wanting to implement the treatment. Right now, it’s sort of perfect conditions."

Mackintosh said the province believes the liquid potash treatment will work as it’s has been proven effective against zebra mussels in other jurisdictions. It does not impact fish or discolour water. The application will be undertaken by the ASI Group Inc.

"There’s only one guarantee, and that’s if nothing is done the lake will certainly get worse," he said, adding the province may repeat the process next spring depending on the effectiveness of this year’s treatment.

"We will continue to be nimble on this given our ongoing monitoring," he said.

The zebra mussel infestation was identified in the four harbours in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg last fall. Additional inspection this spring has confirmed the zebra mussels survived the winter. If left to thrive, the mussels could contribute to the growth of green-algae blooms on the lake, curb production of certain fish species and foul beaches. Because of their ability to attach to solid objects such as boats and docks, they can also clog water-treatment-plant intake pipes and effluent-discharge pipes.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 6:39 PM CDT: Write-thru

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

7 questions with Craig Kielburger before We Day Manitoba

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your favourite Halloween treat to hand out?

View Results

Ads by Google