SaskPower worried about zebra mussels
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
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