Each summer, Watershed Stewardship Groups around Saskatchewan monitor numerous lakes for invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels. We collect water samples with fine-mesh tow nets. The water is filtered, preserved, and sent to a lab to test for any presence of veligers (baby mussels). This year, we utilized eDNA analysis at a few lakes for the first time. Lake water gets pumped through a micromesh filter, then sent to a lab where they sample for any presence of invasive mussel DNA.
Extensive efforts go towards preventing the introduction of Zebra & Quagga mussels due to the detrimental impacts they have. These finger-nail-sized mussels do substantial damage to freshwater lakes they infest. Originating from Europe, they have no natural predator here in North America, so they reproduce prolifically wherever they end up, putting our Saskatchewan lakes at risk. They are filter feeders, meaning most waterborne nutrients are used up, starving the lake. They attach themselves to underwater infrastructure, boat motors, docks, and clog intake pipes. It is not just Zebra & Quagga mussels that cause problems; other Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) including invasive species of fish, plants, aquatic invertebrates, etc. pose threat to our waters.
Make sure to clean, drain and dry any equipment you use before going to another lake. Help stop the spread of AIS and keep our waters sustainable for generations to come.