Aquatic mussels to be targeted in campaign
Tuesday, Oct 07, 2014 06:00 am
Zebra and quagga mussels are on Red Deer and Mountain View counties’ invasive species radar.
The councils of both municipalities are asking their fellow members of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) to support their bid for a more robust Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) provincial program.
According to government sources, neither zebra mussels nor quagga mussels are currently present within any water body located within the province.
“We can’t move fast enough once we detect these coming into our water system,” said Red Deer County councillor Jean Bota. “In Quebec, they have detected two boats recently that were infected and it may be too late already. We don’t want to go there.”
Mussels can clog water pipes, smother fish spawning grounds, cause damage to water treatment infrastructure and harm aquatic ecosystems. They were discovered in Lake Winnipeg in October of 2011 and have been treated with liquid potash with some success.
“At present there are no mussels in our waterways,” said Red Deer County mayor Jim Wood. “With the rapid speed they can multiply, we want to keep it that way.”
The councils of both municipalities recently agreed to submit a resolution to the AAMDC’s Central Alberta zone that in part, requests support of amendments to the Fisheries (Alberta) Act that would allow for better monitoring, rapid response, inspections, education and policy changes regarding aquatic invasive species.
Under current provincial legislations -- the Weed Control Act and the Fisheries (Alberta) Act -- there are already provisions regarding the enforcement, control and elimination of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) representatives are working to develop an improved AIS program.
The two counties are asking AAMDC members to support the program and encourage its further development to allow for enhanced inspections and authority in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The resolution also asks that AAMDC requests that consideration be given in any legislative amendments to give municipalities, if they wish, some enforcement authority.
Support from other municipalities through the AAMDC would encourage provincial representatives to favourably consider the proposed legislative amendments, according to Red Deer County administration.
The resolution is expected to be considered during the October zone meeting. If successful, it will be voted on by members during the AAMDC’s fall convention in November.