RMNP takes precautions against Zebra Mussels


Submitted Article

Riding Mountain National Park

Parks Canada is taking precautions against zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species at Riding Mountain National Park by consolidating boat launches around Clear Lake. Boats can launch from the Clear Lake Boat Cove and East End (at the Clear Lake Golf Course entrance), while launches at Frith Beach and Spruces day-use area will be closed.

Riding Mountain National Park will continue mandatory watercraft inspections for aquatic invasive species in 2016. Since spring 2015, all motorized and non-motorized watercraft entering park waters have been required to undergo a free inspection by Parks Canada watercraft inspectors who have received specialized training from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship (CWS) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In 2015, Parks Canada inspectors conducted over 2,300 watercraft inspections on boats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats and paddleboards and 45 vessels were decontaminated. Permits and decals issued in 2015 are not valid for 2016. 

“The consolidation of boat launches and continued watercraft inspections are measures that Parks Canada is using to ensure the ecological integrity of Clear Lake and other park waters. These measures will safeguard the health and recreational potential of our lakes for visitors,” said Michaela Kent, superintendent, Riding Mountain National Park

Parks Canada is a recognized world leader in conservation. As part of a pilot project with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to monitor the spread of zebra mussels in Manitoba, inspectors took water samples from high-risk watercraft to test for zebra mussel environmental DNA (eDNA). Resource Management Officers also conducted eDNA sampling on lakes in the park, and received permission from Manitoba CWS to obtain samples from surrounding lakes. The samples processed to date have tested negatively for zebra mussels. 

Quick Facts 

· Zebra mussels were first confirmed in Manitoba in Lake Winnipeg in 2013 and there is a high threat that they will spread to other lakes in the province. By working closely with visitors to keep this destructive invasive species out of park waters, Parks Canada is ensuring both the ecological integrity of our treasured spaces and their enjoyment by present and future generations. 

· Riding Mountain National Park is working with the four western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia) to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and with Manitoba CWS on general aquatic invasive species concerns. 

· Investments in visitor infrastructure will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature. The Clear Lake Boat Cove recently received several upgrades, including expanded parking, a new accessible canoe/kayak launch and improved traffic flow for launching. Future improvements include new boat launches, silt and sand control for launches, and re-routing of the Clear Lake walking trail. High risk shoreline areas will be re-vegetated to prevent erosion and to keep nutrients from getting into Clear Lake.