Water­craft own­ers urged to watch for aquatic in­va­sive species by ir­ri­ga­tors

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Bargaineer -

The com­ing of the spring sea­son means many in­di­vid­u­als will soon be able to en­joy wa­ter-based ac­tiv­i­ties like fish­ing and boat­ing on Al­berta’s lakes and ir­ri­ga­tion reser­voirs. Given the pub­lic health chal­lenges in­di­vid­u­als have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing over the last sev­eral months many peo­ple will be look­ing for­ward to these types of ac­tiv­i­ties.

Al­berta’s rivers, lakes and ir­ri­ga­tion reser­voirs are still un­der threat from aquatic in­va­sive species (AIS). These non-na­tive an­i­mals and plants pose great threats to na­tive an­i­mals and plants, wa­ter qual­ity, in­dus­try and lo­cal economies. In­va­sive species are dif­fi­cult to erad­i­cate and con­trol once in­tro­duced. Al­berta’s wa­ter­bod­ies are most at risk from species such as Ze­bra and Quagga Mus­sels, Eurasian Wa­ter Mil­foil, and Flow­er­ing Rush.

All water­craft own­ers have a part to play in pre­vent­ing aquatic in­va­sive species from be­ing in­tro­duced into Al­berta wa­ter­bod­ies and a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties can be fol­lowed to re­duce the risk of trans­port­ing aquatic in­va­sive species into Al­berta wa­ter­bod­ies.

First, clean, drain and dry your water­craft. This in­cludes mo­tor­ized and non-mo­tor­ized water­craft such as kayaks and ca­noes. Start by en­sur­ing you pull the drain plug of water­craft that is be­ing trans­ported. Pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion man­dates this ac­tiv­ity and fail­ure to do so will re­sult in a hefty fine. Be­fore leav­ing any boat launch site re­move stand­ing wa­ter from all in­ter­nal com­part­ments as well as any veg­e­ta­tion or mud present on the trailer or water­craft. Do not for­get to clean and dry all fish­ing equip­ment and wa­ter sports equip­ment, such as tubes, wake­boards etc.

Se­condly, re­spect the pro­vin­cial water­craft in­spec­tion pro­gram. If you have trans­ported your water­craft out­side of Al­berta and are re-en­ter­ing the Prov­ince; if you are trans­port­ing new water­craft into the Prov­ince or are trans­port­ing water­craft through the prov­ince you are re­quired to stop at a Pro­vin­cial in­spec­tion sta­tion and have the water­craft in­spected. Pro­vin­cial in­spec­tion sta­tions are lo­cated through­out the Prov­ince on ma­jor high­way trans­porta­tion cor­ri­dors. Provin­cially trained in­spec­tors are re­spon­si­ble for ex­am­in­ing your water­craft for ev­i­dence of pro­hib­ited species and per­form­ing a de­con­tam­i­na­tion if deemed nec­es­sary. More in­for­ma­tion on what to ex­pect dur­ing an in­spec­tion can be found on the Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta web­site by search­ing ‘water­craft in­spec­tions’.

In some ar­eas of the Prov­ince, in­clud­ing south­ern Al­berta’s ir­ri­gated re­gion, boat launch op­er­a­tors are sup­port­ing Pro­vin­cial preven­tion and in­spec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties by mak­ing sure high-risk water­craft do not launch un­less cleared to do so through a Pro­vin­cial in­spec­tion.

In re­sponse to the pro­vin­cial health emer­gency de­clared due to the COVID-19 pan­demic, the pro­vin­cial AIS in­spec­tion team is putting in place per­sonal dis­tanc­ing pro­to­cols to en­sure the safety of AIS in­spec­tors and water­craft own­ers dur­ing the up­com­ing sum­mer sea­son. These pro­to­cols will be in place when six pro­vin­cial AIS in­spec­tion sta­tions open in the com­ing weeks. Please re­mem­ber to re­spect these pro­to­cols.

Water­craft own­ers hav­ing fur­ther ques­tions on water­craft in­spec­tions or aquatic in­va­sive species can call 1-855-336-BOAT (2628).

Fol­low­ing all reg­u­la­tions and guide­lines on aquatic in­va­sive species will pro­tect Al­berta’s wa­ter­bod­ies and en­sure their con­tin­ued en­joy­ment and use for Al­berta res­i­dents and vis­i­tors.

The Al­berta Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­tricts As­so­ci­a­tion (AIDA) rep­re­sents Al­berta’s thir­teen ir­ri­ga­tion dis­tricts on mat­ters of shared in­ter­est.

Photo con­trib­uted

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