Saskatchewan unveils new strategy to fight aquatic invasive species

Saskatchewan has unveiled a new comprehensive strategy to keep aquatic invasive species (AIS) like zebra mussels and quagga mussels out of the province.

To date, AIS has not been found in Saskatchewan. Environment Minister Dustin Duncan wants to keep it that way.

“This strategy emphasizes the need for collaboration and co-ordination with provincial and federal government agencies, non-government organizations and neighbouring jurisdictions to prevent the introduction and spread of high-risk aquatic invasive species,” Duncan said Thursday in a statement.

Foremost in the new strategy is preventing AIS from entering Saskatchewan waterways, and if that happens, responding quickly to prevent AIS from establishing or spreading.

AIS can have a severe economic impact on communities and the province, according to reports.

In 2015, the South Saskatchewan River watershed stewards estimated it could cost the province and municipalities between $15- and $30-million yearly in maintenance costs alone.

Alberta estimates it could cost $75-million yearly if AIS infested the province. Ontario pays an estimated $75- to $91-million each year to deal with AIS in its waterways, including the impact on power generation, drinking water systems and water management structures.

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