The creation of new aquatic invasive species (AIS) control zones are among a suite of changes being implemented by the Manitoba government aimed at enhancing efforts to fight the spread of AIS in the province, Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt announced today.
“Establishing an invaded water body as a control zone is critical to containing the spread of aquatic invasive species,” said Nesbitt. “Watercraft users will need to undertake several mitigation measures such as cleaning, draining, drying and decontaminating watercraft to effectively prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species within Manitoba.”
The new measures include:
- designating a new Lake Manitoba/Fairford River/Lake St. Martin control zone to control the spread of zebra mussels;
- designating a new Shoal Lake control zone to control the spread of spiny waterflea;
- updating the names and boundaries of existing control zones to more accurately target areas where invasions exist; and
- amending the aircraft control zone provision so that any float plane using a zebra mussel control zone must have its underwater surfaces such as floats treated with anti-fouling paint.
“These changes will enhance our government’s strategic efforts to prevent and contain the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose a significant threat to our water bodies and aquatic ecosystems,” Nesbitt said.
All watercraft users are reminded to remain vigilant and do their part to protect Manitoba’s water bodies from the introduction and spread of AIS, the minister noted. This includes ensuring all watercraft and water-related equipment are clean, drained, and dry after use in any water body in Manitoba, and decontaminated after using these items in a water body designated as a control zone.
The Manitoba government’s annual watercraft inspection program is underway with inspection stations at Headingley, Selkirk, Eriksdale, The Pas and Wabowden. Additional inspection stations at Grand Rapids, Ste. Rose du Lac, and Minnedosa will open in coming weeks. The stations at Ste. Rose du Lac and Minnedosa are new locations placed specifically to respond to growing zebra mussel and other AIS threats in western Manitoba.
Watercraft inspection stations help watercraft users to be compliant with AIS requirements. Anyone transporting motorized or non-motorized watercraft over land must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations along their route.
Set fines for AIS offences are in effect year round and carry a range of penalties, depending on the offence, including a $672 fine for failing to stop at a watercraft inspection site and a $2,542 fine for removing watercraft or water-related equipment from a water body in a control zone and placing it into another water body without proper decontamination. For more information on AIS, the requirements, and location and hours of watercraft inspection stations, visit www.manitoba.ca/stopais.