Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Awareness Week will be recognized in Saskatchewan from May 8 to 12. This is an opportunity to provide education on the potential harm caused by introducing non-native plants, fish and invertebrates into our waterbodies.
During the week, the Ministry of Environment will launch its annual Clean, Drain and Dry campaign and kick off its watercraft inspection and waterbody monitoring programs. These programs are a critical part of helping to protect the province’s aquatic ecosystems from invasive species.
“Saskatchewan’s many freshwater lakes, rivers and streams are critical to our daily lives, as they provide drinking water, irrigation, power generation and a number of recreational and commercial opportunities for the province,” Environment Minister Dana Skoropad said. “Please help out by protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species. Clean, drain and dry your boats and any other equipment used in and around water.”
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea, are introduced into our lakes, rivers and streams when they attach to boats or any gear that comes in contact with water. Once established, these organisms are nearly impossible to eliminate, can significantly impact our fisheries and cost millions of dollars to manage annually.
The Ministry of Environment has eight mobile watercraft decontamination units that support its AIS inspection and decontamination program. Two units will be set up along the Manitoba border and three along the U.S. border. Additional units will be used in key locations across the province throughout the open water season. All vehicles transporting watercraft are required to stop at watercraft inspection stations, when open.
Sightings of aquatic invasive species on watercraft or in and around Saskatchewan waterbodies should be reported immediately to the Saskatchewan Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561, or text #5555 from your SaskTel cellphone.
More information on how to properly clean, drain and dry your equipment and prevent the spread of AIS can be found at saskatchewan.ca/invasive-species.