WINNIPEG —; The Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship has discovered a presence of zebra mussels in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg.
24 samples were collected during the fall monitoring program. From those samples, one zebra mussel larvae was found southeast of George Island.
Zebra mussels are now present in Lake Winnipeg, the Manitoba portion of the Red River, and Cedar Lake immediately west of Grand Rapids.
Following this finding, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Manitoba has responded, saying the health of Lake Winnipeg is crucial to the well-being of natural environments in the province. The organization also says Lake Winnipeg is a key health factor for the communities and people of Manitoba.
According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, in 2009, Lake Winnipeg was referred to as “Canada’s sickest lake” in a MacLeans Magazine article. The Global Nature Fund also named it “threatened lake of the year” in 2013.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Dan Kraus, is an expert on the Great Lakes. “It is a lake of extraordinary resurrection,” Dan Kraus said with respect to Lake Erie.
“Both the recreational and commercial fisheries have made a comeback. Water quality is better than it has been in generations.”
Kraus says that Lake Erie and Lake Winnipeg share similar ecological issues.
The province is reminding people that is is illegal to possess of transport zebra mussels. The spread of the mussels is preventable and Manitobans should take the proper precautions when removing their boats from infested lakes.
People are asked to clean and remove any visible aquatic plants, and mud to the vessel and trailer, as well as all water related equipment. Drain all water from the motor, bilge bait buckets and all other compartments and dry off all areas that may collect water.