Invasive aquatic species are under the microscope this week in the county as May 9-13 is county species awareness week.
Jerry Geiger, Team Leader of the Invasive Aquatic Species Program with the Department of Environment, provides some details about the species.
“An invasive aquatic species is any organism that is not native, so it can be a plant, invertebrate or fish that is introduced into an area that is not native to it. It has the potential to negatively impact our environment, our economy and our infrastructure.”
Geiger adds that when it comes to invasive aquatic species, oftentimes there are limited or no tools to effectively manage/control invasive species once they are established, so this week he aims to focus on prevention and awareness.
A government press release stated, “As part of the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program, the Department of Environment conducts roadside inspections and disinfection of water vessels, as well as monitoring of the county’s water bodies. Public education is also the focus, including a clean-up program Drainage and dehydration of watercraft and related equipment.Boat owners should stop at the ministry’s inspection stations and ask them to remove drain plugs from their watercraft during transportation.In addition to stopping the introduction of the automatic identification system through watercraft and related equipment, aquatic invasive species awareness week highlights It also highlights the potential harm caused by introducing invasive species through other means.”
This year, Geiger says they hope to inform residents of some of the lesser-known methods of spreading.
“Through Awareness Week this year, we are also trying to make people aware of some of the lesser known pathways or means of propagation. Some of these methods include releasing organisms from aquariums such as aquarium fish, pets, plants, water garden plants or pets.”
According to Geiger, additional methods of dissemination can include live food found in grocery stores such as live crab released into an environment as well as the release of unwanted bait and the movement of sporting species to new fishing opportunities.
Sights of invasive aquatic species such as zebra mussels, Prussian carp, flowering rush and goldfish should be reported to the Saskatchewan Turn Line at Fishermen and Polluters (TIPP) at 1-800-667-7561.
Those looking to find more information about invasive aquatic species can do so here.