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Great Lakes Article:

SaskPower worried about zebra mussels
CBC News
Published May 24, 2005


REGINA With boating season here, Saskatchewan Power is warning people to keep an eye out for a small but potentially destructive organism the zebra mussel.

The crustacean isn't native to Saskatchewan and hasn't appeared here yet, but their numbers in North American waterways have exploded to the point that they're damaging aquatic ecosystems in Ontario, South Dakota and other areas.

Sask Power spokesman Larry Christie said zebra mussels can affect not only the environment, but also power systems that use water to cool thermal plants.

They've cost Ontario Hydro millions of dollars already. Christie said SaskPower doesn't want that to happen here.

"What the zebra mussels can do is they can actually gum up or block the water intake system," he said.

Christie said boaters should be taking precautions to keep Saskatchewan waterways zebra-mussel free.

The best way is to wash the hull of boats with soap and water once they're docked.

This is especially important when moving from one body of water to another, Christie said.

Zebra mussels reproduce rapidly each female can produce as many as 40,000 eggs.

"There is a potential there for a significant impact on the natural wildlife, the fish and other animals inside the water system," Christie said. "They will in fact take over."

Zebra mussels are a freshwater shellfish native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia. The mussels are believed to have been introduced into the Great Lakes system in 1986 by intercontinental freighters using the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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