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This article was published 28/5/2015 (1972 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Zebra mussels are here to stay.
The challenge now is controlling their spread, a challenge the province appears to be losing in part due to errant boaters.
Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff said today mature zebra mussels were recently found in the Red River on a dock near Selkirk, raising the possibility they spread from Lake Winnipeg south to Selkirk on a boat. They have also been detected north in the south basin of the lake near Hnausa.
Nevakshonoff also said the treatment for zebra mussels at four Lake Winnipeg harbours last year will not be repeated as it’s clear the invasive mussels are here to stay.
"They are very invasive to say the least," he said. "While we focused on curtailing and slowing the growth, this did not result on eradicating them. That frankly is an impossible task. The likelihood is that zebra mussels are here to stay."
The province predicts the mussels, transported mostly by watercraft, will move eventually into the lake’s north basin and the Nelson River
To slow that, the government has launched its detection and public awareness campaign.
Nevakshonoff said the province will more than double the number of staff and equipment available for detection of zebra mussels.
The province’s aquatic invasive species program’s six decontamination units will be deployed to detect and clean contaminated watercrafts.
Watercraft inspectors have taken decontamination units to locations such as the Emerson and Boissevain border crossings, and the Selkirk Park and Pine Falls boat launches, already inspecting more than 200 watercraft and performing eight decontaminations May 21-25, Nevakshonoff said.
A zebra mussel detection dog is also available to determine if zebra mussels are on watercraft and water-related equipment.
Last year, Manitoba introduced proposed legislation with a number of measures that would be specifically aimed at preventing the spread of zebra mussels.
The government says the new legislation would prohibit the possession, transportation and release of aquatic invasive species; require trailered watercraft to stop and allow an inspection of the watercraft and water-based gear at watercraft inspection stations; and allow the designation of control zones, where restrictions and prohibitions can be established in specific areas to prevent the introduction or control the spread of an AIS.
The province says boat owners are asked to clean and remove any visible aquatic plants or mud from the watercraft, trailer and all water-related gear, drain water from all compartments and dry all equipment and any hard-to-drain compartments that have contacted the water with a dry towel or sponge before it is used in any other body of water.
To report a zebra mussel at a new location, take pictures and visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/waterstewardship/stopais/ or call toll-free 1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470).
Updated on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 5:31 PM CDT: Corrects toll-free number
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