Alberta Environment & Parks, June 6, 2016: A joint agreement among Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon tightens the grip on invasive species. The Inter-Provincial Territorial Agreement for Co-ordinated Regional Defence Against Invasive Species is a step towards better co-ordination among jurisdictions on both prevention and co-ordinated response if invasive species are detected in Western Canada. The initial scope of this agreement will focus on aquatic invasive species.
“Aquatic invasive species are a real threat to Alberta’s environment and infrastructure. This partnership between western Canadian jurisdictions will help ensure our waterways are protected and our irrigation systems continue to work properly.”
- Shannon Phillips, Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks
“Manitoba is the gateway to the West and an important battleground in the fight against the spread of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels. Working with our neighbours to the west allows us to make the most of our efforts to limit the further spread of invasive species.”
- Cathy Cox, Manitoba Minister of Sustainable Development
“Preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species requires the collaboration and co-operation amongst many agencies, organizations and jurisdictions. As part of Canadian Environment Week, we are pleased to announce this agreement as one of the many actions being taken to ensure a healthy environment for all to enjoy.”
- Herb Cox , Saskatchewan Minister of Environment
“As aquatic invasive species do not recognize borders, these co- ordinated efforts between Western Canadian neighbours are essential to help ensure the health and safety of our freshwater lakes and rivers."
- Mary Polak, British Columbia Minister of Environment
“We are aware of the negative impacts invasive species have on biodiversity, infrastructure, economic activity, recreational pursuits and cultural and social values. By joining forces with our western partners, we can respond to this urgent and important issue with co-ordinated, preventative measures.”
- Wade Istchenko, Yukon Minister of Environment
The agreement enables increased co-ordination among jurisdictions in Western Canada to share resources and co-ordinate planning related to both prevention and response to aquatic invasive species such as:
- pre-planning of watercraft inspection stations to avoid duplication and to maximize efforts on shared highway crossings; and
- increased ability to connect with resources from other provinces (i.e. people and expertise) to assist in a rapid response in the event of any mussel detections.
Aquatic invasive species (specifically zebra and quagga mussels) pose a major threat to Western Canada’s aquatic ecosystem health and, if established, could result in major costs to water infrastructure.
While governments and communities are working to stop mussels from entering the province, all Albertans should be vigilant. For more information or to report something suspicious on your boat or equipment, call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).
Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a body of water, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. The province estimates that an infestation of mussels in Alberta could cost the province more than $75 million annually – including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities.
Press Secretary, Alberta Environment and Parks