Sask. committee using local muscle to protect lake against invasive species

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Sask. committee using local muscle to protect lake against invasive species

A small group of Saskatchewan people share a common purpose: stop an aquatic mussel invasion.

"Protection for our lake is our number one goal," said Joanne Brochu, chair of the newly formed Lake Diefenbaker Task Force against Aquatic Invasive Mussels.

Brochu is also a board member of the Waterwolf Regional Planning Authority, which the task force was formed under.

The task force plans to ask for funding from communities that benefit from the lake — be it through irrigation, drinking water or recreation.

They're casting their net wide to include those who use the water that flows from the lake into the South Saskatchewan River north to Saskatoon, as well as into the Qu'Appelle River south to the Buffalo Pound waters used by Moose Jaw and Regina.

The committee plans to send their proposal to potential supporters in the coming days. 

Money would be used for inspections at every major boat launch, on-site decontamination and a citizen patrol, according to Brochu.

Brochu is one of six who currently sit on the ​task force, which is just one month old and looking for more members.

"Locally, if we can educate as many people as we possibly can that education will flow to the tourists to the visitors to the families to the friends that are visiting our lake."

The group wants to expand on provincial initiatives, with a concentrated focus on Lake Diefenbaker. 

The government of Saskatchewan has said that six mobile watercraft decontamination units will be used this year to stop aquatic invasive species from setting up shop in provincial waters.

The Ministry of Environment has released some details of this year's inspection program, which will see an increase in the number of boats checked for creatures such as zebra mussels.

It's mandatory for people transporting boats on all public roads in Saskatchewan to stop at inspection stations and ensure drainage plugs in their craft are taken out while they're being moved. ​