Western Canada unites in fight against invasive species

Joint agreement will boost fight to keep zebra 
and quagga mussels out of Alberta

A joint agreement among Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Yukon tightens the grip on invasive species.

The Inter-Provincial Territorial Agreement for Co-ordinated Regional Defence Against Invasive Species is a step towards better co-ordination among jurisdictions on both prevention and co-ordinated response if invasive species are detected in Western Canada.

The initial scope of this agreement will focus on aquatic invasive species.

“Aquatic invasive species are a real threat to Alberta’s environment and infrastructure,” said Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips. “This partnership between western Canadian jurisdictions will help ensure our waterways are protected and our irrigation systems continue to work properly.”

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The agreement enables increased co-ordination among jurisdictions in Western Canada to share resources and co-ordinate planning related to both prevention and response to aquatic invasive species such as:

  • Pre-planning of watercraft inspection stations to avoid duplication and to maximize efforts on shared highway crossings;
  • Increased ability to connect with officials from other provinces to assist in a rapid response in the event of any mussel detections.

Aquatic invasive species — specifically zebra and quagga mussels — pose a major threat to Western Canada’s aquatic ecosystem health and, if established, could result in major costs to water infrastructure.

While governments and communities are working to stop mussels from entering the province, all Albertans should be vigilant. For more information or to report something suspicious on your boat or equipment, call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).

Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a body of water, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. The province estimates that an infestation of mussels in Alberta could cost the province more than $75 million annually — including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities.

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