Aquatic Invasive Species

A threat to our environment.

EID Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program

Click here to download the AIS Quick Fact Card .

In 2018, the EID initiated an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program. All boaters wishing to access EID reservoirs must follow approved prevention procedures and complete a watercraft information form stating they will not knowingly spread aquatic invasive species. As part of the program, trailered watercraft must only be launched from approved boat launches and boaters must check in with the campgrounds, marina, or EID office before launching. Canoes, kayaks, and other non-trailered watercraft may continue to be launched at random locations, but the boaters are still required to check in with the campgrounds, marina, or EID office prior to launching. Boaters can visit Lake Newell Resort Marina, Rolling Hills Campground, or Crawling Valley Campground to register for the program.

Failure to participate in, or abide by the protocols set out by, the EID AIS Program will result in loss of access to EID lands & reservoirs

Please clean, drain, and dry your watercraft before moving to a new waterbody and do not release garden plants or pets into the wild.

Please see below for information on Aquatic Invasive Species.

Aquatic Invasive Species: Information

Eastern Irrigation District’s Initiatives

The Eastern Irrigation District is collaborating with other irrigation districts and the Government of Alberta in support of the fight against the introduction and establishment of aquatic invasive species into Alberta’s waterbodies.

The 13 irrigation districts, all located in southern Alberta, including the Eastern Irrigation District are especially concerned with Zebra and Quagga mussels and have collaborated on several projects to prevent the establishment of mussels in Alberta. Through the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association (AIDA) a trial Mussel Dog Detector Inspection Program was brought to Alberta in the spring of 2014/2015. Dogs trained to target mussels by scent were deployed at Alberta commercial vehicle inspection stations (VIS) to efficiently and effectively search for mussel infestation on high-risk watercraft travelling into Alberta.

The program proved such a success that in 2015 the Eastern, Bow River, Taber, Lethbridge Northern, Raymond, United, and Western irrigation districts funded the training of four Mussel Detection Dog teams for permanent deployment within the Province’s AIS Inspection Program. In March 2015, the Government of Alberta announced mandatory inspection of all trailered watercraft entering Alberta from any other province or state with AIS Inspection Stations established at most Alberta commercial vehicle inspection stations.

Aquatic Invasive Species

An invasive species is an organism not native to an area or ecosystem which when introduced establishes readily and alters the ecosystem, almost always with negative results, and are almost impossible to eradicate.

Aquatic invasive species are extremely detrimental to Alberta irrigation because they will:

  • pose a threat to the management and operation of water conveyance and irrigation infrastructure (including reservoirs)
  • require permanent maintenance to unclog irrigation outlets/intakes, pipelines, screens, etc.
  • cost millions of dollars in maintenance due to infrastructure damage and control measures
  • deplete the quality of water, risking food and crop production
  • restrict availability of water for municipalities and rural residences

Most aquatic invasive species are introduced and spread from one waterbody to another through transportation of infested trailered watercraft. Some aquatic invasive species may also be introduced into waterbodies through intentional dumping of fish and/or aquatic plants from household aquariums or backyard ponds. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), Quagga mussels (Dreissena rostiformis bugensis), Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus), and Prussian Carp (Carassius gibelio) are aquatic invasive species of most concern in Southern Alberta.

What can YOU do to prevent the establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species into Alberta’s waterbodies?

  • - If you are entering the Province with watercraft (motorized, canoe, kayak, paddleboards, other non-motorized watercraft, etc.) stop for an inspection at a Provincial inspection station. If you do not pass an inspection station you can call the Provincial AIS Hotline at 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) to arrange for an inspection.
  • Always CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY your watercraft when removing it from any waterbody reducing the potential of transporting any species from one waterbody to another.
  • Report any suspected invasive species by calling the Provincial AIS Hotline at 1-855-336-BOAT (2628).
  • Do not dump or flush fish, plants, or invertebrates from household aquariums or backyard ponds into any waterbody.
  • When planning a backyard pond development use only native vegetation and know which aquatic plants are not native and/or invasive at
  • It is illegal to move live fish from one waterbody to another and illegal to use live bait when fishing.

Though not currently present in Alberta waterbodies, Zebra and Quagga mussels are of particular concern for a number of reasons. Most of Alberta’s waterbodies are considered high risk for Zebra and Quagga mussel establishment as the chemical and physical properties of Alberta’s waterbodies are favourable habitat for these mussels. If introduced, mussels will establish rapidly and quickly change the ecosystem by competing with native organisms for food and developing large, sessile colonies. These effects will be devastating to the ecology and recreational enjoyment of Alberta’s waterbodies.

Due to their physiology, mussels are small and can attach to numerous small crevices and cracks found within watercraft and because of this are sometimes not visible upon observation. Adult mussels can survive up to 30 days out water, given the right temperature and humidity levels, and the microscopic larvae of mussels (veligers) can survive within water in bilges and live wells for a number of days. Given this, it is easy to see that an infected boat transported to a different waterbody may easily infect the new waterbody without the owner’s realization.