Aquatic Invasive Species


Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native animals or plants that have been brought from other jurisdictions into Alberta's waterways.

Species such as zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a waterbody, they are virtually impossible to eradicate and can cause millions of dollars in damage to water-operated infrastructure and harm aquatic ecosystems.

Invasive plant species such as Eurasian water milfoil can crowd out native plants, damaging ecosystems and hindering recreational activities.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers from entering Alberta

Albertans play an important role in protecting the province's waterways from aquatic invasives. Everyone who enjoys Alberta's lakes and rivers needs to be proactive about keeping our aquatic ecosystems safe.

If you are bringing a boat and equipment into Alberta from another province or state, make sure to:

  1. Clean
    • Clean and inspect watercraft, trailer and gear.
    • Remove all plants, animals and mud at the access area or dock.
    • At home, soak your gear in a two per cent bleach solution for one minute (20 millilitres of bleach per litre of water).
    • Rinse, scrub or pressure wash your boat away from storm drains, ditches or waterways.
  2. Drain
    • On land before leaving the waterbody, drain all water from
      • bait buckets
      • ballasts
      • bilges
      • coolers
      • internal compartments
      • livewells
      • transom motors
    • Never release live bait into a waterbody or transfer aquatic plants or animals from waterbody to another.
    • For paddle boats, drain by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments and removing seats if necessary.
  3. Dry
    • Dry the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry.
    • Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.

If you are using your boat in a number of different waterbodies, be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat and equipment after you leave each waterbody. This is especially important if you boat outside of the province.

Program to protect Alberta's waterbodies

The provincial government is working to keep non-native aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels and Eurasian water milfoil, out of Alberta through the development of an AIS prevention program. This program includes:

  • 1-800 hotline
  • new watercraft inspection program that will help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives and safeguard Alberta's waterbodies
  • monitoring
  • outreach campaign

For more information or to report something suspicious on your boat or equipment:

Updated: Mar 3, 2017