Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are plants, animals and invertebrates that enter ecosystems where they don’t occur naturally.

May 9 to 15 is Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week. The Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment is turning the focus on the important role that residents can play to protect the numerous rivers and lakes from the significant threat of invasive species.

These species attack ecosystems creating havoc to the aquatic habitat and fisheries, threatening recreational resources and important power generation and water infrastructure. Once introduced  to an aquatic area, AIS are hard to get rid of.

AIS like Zebra mussels, Prussian carp, Flowering rush and the Spiny water-flea cost millions of dollars each year to control.

Saskatchewan’s public education includes promotion of the Clean, Drain, Dry Program for watercraft, as well as roadside inspections, decontaminations and regular monitoring rivers and lakes. Prevention of zebra and quagga mussels is a top priority in Saskatchewan. To date, the program has managed to keep these invasive mussels out.

The ministry has eight mobile watercraft decontamination units for its inspection and decontamination program.

The ministry partners with the provincial AIS Task Force and the Invasive Species Centre for public education and monitoring, They combine their efforts on the prevention, introduction and spread of AIS in the province.

More information can be found at the government’s website.