Each summer, Watershed Stewardship Groups around Saskatchewan monitor numerous lakes for invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels. The MJRWS have monitored the Watson Reservoir for many years, but this year we are also monitoring Plaxton’s Lake in Moose Jaw.
Extensive efforts go towards preventing the introduction of Zebra & Quagga mussels due to the detrimental impact they have on ecosystems, infrastructure and the economy. Zebra mussels were first introduced to the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence River in 1986. They have multiplied and spread extremely fast and can now be found throughout eastern North American continuing to move westward. Watch below to see how the mussels have spread from 1986 to 2019.
These finger-nail-sized mussels do substantial damage to the freshwater lakes they infest. There is some differences between the two species, pictured below.
Originating from southeastern Europe, they have no natural predator here in North America, so they reproduce prolifically wherever they end up, putting our Saskatchewan lakes at risk. They are filter feeders, meaning most waterborne nutrients are used up, starving the lake. They attach themselves to underwater infrastructure, boat motors, docks, and clog intake pipes. It is not just Zebra & Quagga mussels that cause problems; other Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) including invasive species of fish, plants, aquatic invertebrates, etc. pose threats to our waters.
If you are out at the lakes this summer, make sure to clean, drain and dry any equipment you use before going to another lake. Help stop the spread of AIS and keep our waters sustainable for generations to come.