Sign campaign launching on P.E.I. aims to limit spread of invasive species

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Zebra mussels can clog water infrastructure and disrupt food chains. (CBC - image credit)
Zebra mussels can clog water infrastructure and disrupt food chains. (CBC - image credit)

Signs will be installed near freshwater areas on P.E.I. as part of two new initiatives by the P.E.I. Invasive Species Council.

One campaign urges boaters to take precautions between outings to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels.

Zebra mussels can clog water infrastructure and disrupt food chains.

Some of the information on the sign will tell Island boaters how to check their watercraft for invasive species and how to safely get rid of them, says Hannah Morrison, the council's project co-ordinator.

"Invasive species cause immense ecological economic damage," Morrison said.

The P.E.I. Invasive Species Council says it plans to have signs up by the end of the month.
The P.E.I. Invasive Species Council says it plans to have signs up by the end of the month.(PEI Invasive Species Council)

She said the main way invasive species get to the Island is by hitching a ride on the bottom of a watercraft.

The other campaign reminds people not to release non-native fish species, like koi and goldfish, into the wild.

Nine freshwater locations have been identified on P.E.I. for the signs.

They are Doc's Marsh in Dundas, Kelly's Pond in Stratford, MacLures Pond in Murray River, Knox's Pond in Montague, Upton Park and Rossiter Park in Morell and Victoria Park in Charlottetown.

Plant problems

It isn't just fish to worry about.

Morrison said dumping plants from an aquarium such as Canada Waterweed can also cause problems. She said the point of the campaigns is to keep invasive species out of Island waters.

"Once they are established it's pretty much impossible to eradicate them,' she said.

Posts are already in the ground and signs will be put up by the end of March, said Morrison, adding that if people see any invasive species they can contact the council.

The project is being funded through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the province and the P.E.I. Wildlife Conservation Fund, she said.

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