October 17, 2013
ADULT ZEBRA MUSSELS FOUND IN LAKE WINNIPEG– – –
Province Implements Rapid Response Protocol to Prevent Spread to Other Lakes, Rivers
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship confirms zebra mussels have been found in Manitoba waters. Mussels were recently found on the hull of a private boat and a dock at Winnipeg Beach, and on some fishing boats dry docked at Gimli.
Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species that multiply rapidly, affecting fish and other native aquatic species. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship continues to investigate where the species has been established in Manitoba waters.
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is implementing a rapid‑response protocol to address the situation. This includes:
The public can call 1-877-867-2470 (toll-free) for up-to-date information about the exact daily location of these teams.
All individuals who live along or boat in the Red River, Lake Winnipeg and Nelson River are asked to watch for zebra mussels, report any findings and clean boats and any water-related equipment before using it elsewhere.
To avoid the spread of zebra mussels to other areas in Manitoba, boat owners are asked to implement the following steps before launching and before leaving the Red River and Lake Winnipeg:
Manitoba’s aquatic invasive species program is one of the strongest in the country. It includes:
Zebra mussels are the only freshwater mollusc that can firmly attach themselves to solid objects (rocks, docks, boats, intake pipes, etc). As they spread, they can clog water treatment plant intake pipes and effluent discharge pipes, encrust in-water infrastructure, foul boat motors and may affect beaches.
Zebra mussels spread primarily by attaching to boat hulls and fishing equipment, or by dispersal of the juvenile stage through water. Adult zebra mussels can survive out of water for days under certain conditions. Established populations of zebra mussels have been found for several years in Ontario, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Zebra mussels are originally native to southern Russia and are now found as an invasive species in many countries. In North America, they were first found in the Great Lakes in the late 1980s. They can grow up to five centimetres long but are generally under 2.5 cm in length.
Manitobans are reminded that it is illegal to introduce, possess or transport zebra mussels in this province, except when providing them for identification.
Manitobans who think they have zebra mussels are asked to:
Once reported, and if no further identification is required, individuals should bag the mussels and dispose of them with the household garbage.
More information on aquatic invasive species in Manitoba is available at www.gov.mb.ca/waterstewardship/stopais/.
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