The Alberta Aquatic Invasive Species Summit 2015 convened in Calgary on Juanuary 14 and 15 was a really big event with about 150 delegates present for two days at the Telus Conference Centre.
The two-day program had 18 speakers, panels of experts, and a committed environment minister Kyle Fawcett of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.
The western provinces (MB, SK, AB and BC) plus the northern states (from MN through ND, MT, ID to WA) are coordinating efforts to monitor traffic, inspect boats, and require compliance. There will be a push to educate the public using all communication tools. The common theme of Clean. Drain. Dry. will appear everywhere.
Alberta now has an emergency response plan with the enforcement power of a Ministerial Order behind it and the resources of Fish and Game officers, commercial traffic inspectors, highway inspection stations, and police as required. Highway inspections will likely be mandatory soon.
So there’s no more Mr. Nice Guy. The SLWSS supports the Invasive Species Campaign. Know the best practices that will reduce the risks to our lakes from travelling boaters.
Idaho is a particularly important state because much of the high risk boat traffic headed into AB crosses that state. The Idaho experience and monitoring data (points of origin and destinations) is being used by all participating governments to locate inspection stations for maximum effectiveness.
Zebra mussels are already in several Lake Winnipeg harbours so that threat is real even from East-West, not just North-South, boat traffic.
It’s not just Zebra and Quagga mussels that are on the invasive species list. Aquatic plants and fish (Asian carp) are already in AB waterbodies. See the fact sheets about plants that should be excluded.
Download and read the Best Management Practices Handbook: “Biology and Control of Aquatic Plants” published by the Aquatic Ecosystem restoration Foundation. It includes many examples of plants that have become established in water bodies across North America. While dense growth may enable one to walk on water, that is not a desirable end result for Sylvan Lake shoreline.
This presentation by Kate Wilson, the AB Invasive Species program leader, is an excellent introduction to the threats and risks in AB. Note that Asian carp are already in the irrigation canal system east of the Chestermere reservoir in Southern Alberta. There is more information and examples here.
Call the Alberta Invasive Species Hotline if you suspect a problem or see a contaminated boat on a launch ramp. Sylvan Lake is counting on you to protect it.
1 855 336 BOAT