5 Questions on Zebra Mussels

July 16, 2018

5 Questions about Zebra Mussels

These tiny creatures are making themselves at home in Canada’s water systems (luckily they haven’t reached Saskatchewan yet). They not only pose a huge threat to your recreational fun -- but also to our power facilities.

  1. What are zebra mussels?

    These fingernail-sized mussels may be small, but they’re taking over huge water bodies in eastern Canada, the US and now Manitoba.

    With invisible eggs, you can’t see them and it only takes a few eggs to infest an entire lake. Once they’re in – they aren’t going anywhere. They attach to any hard surface they find and start to grow. Eventually, they can significantly change entire aquatic ecosystems.

    Boats that have been out of province are the biggest risk to Saskatchewan’s waterways. This is because adult mussels can survive out of water for up to 10 days. Making them easy to transport if you don’t clean and dry your boat after use.

  2. How can they impact our generation facilities?

    Within two months of establishment, zebra mussels can block all systems that have water flows.

    This could have a huge impact on our hydro and coal facilities - meaning it could cause shutdowns and outages if we don’t plan ahead.

  3. What’s SaskPower doing to protect the facilities?

    We’re monitoring our facilities to ensure we have the earliest possible response if they’re spotted.

    We’ve reached out to experts to help us create an action plan if zebra mussels become established at our facilities.

    This plan will cover:

    • System upgrades to prevent and reduce impacts from mussels;
    • An install, treatment and maintenance cost forecast; and
    • How to monitor and inspect our facilities.
  4. How much could this cost if we’re infested?

    It’s safe to say that a zebra mussel infestation would cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in maintenance and cleaning/treatment costs. 

  5. What can you do to stop the spread of zebra mussels?

    It’s important to make sure you don’t carry zebra mussels from one water body to the next. Here are easy tips to make sure you’re doing your part:

    • Use the Clean, Drain and Dry method on boats and clothing – even shoes!
      • Clean your boat or item with a hard spray from the garden hose. If your boat was in infested waters make sure you use hot soapy water.
      • Drain all water away from the boat. Watch for areas that hold water such as bilge pumps and livewells.
      • Dry anything that got wet in the sun for at least five days. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry.
    • Never release bait into the water.
    • If you have questions or see a boat that you suspect may have been in contact with zebra mussels, call the 24 hour provincial TIPS line at 1-800-667-7561.

You can find out more information on invasive species prevention and the provincial monitoring program, here.

Download the free zebra mussels children’s colouring book, here.

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