Although it may seem like the most humane thing to do, depositing your unwanted goldfish into Chestermere Lake for it to ‘swim free’ is not a wise idea; they can quickly take over a body of water and cause unintended damage.
Goldfish are one of fifty-two invasive species listed in the Fisheries (Alberta) Act that can cause harm to the environment as they establish residence outside of their natural range. Once in a new body of water, these invasive aquatic species can quickly overtake the delicate ecosystem and cause unintended results such as increased infestation. This infestation can interfere with future recreational use (such as boating and swimming) and displace wildlife.
During National Invasive Species Awareness Week, the City of Chestermere is bringing attention to goldfish and other common culprits such as flowering rush, quagga and zebra mussels, yellow flag iris, and Himalayan balsam; all species causing concern for Chestermere Lake.
“We’re asking people who use the lake to keep an eye out for these types of invasive species,” says Calvin Jukich, Plant Health Care Coordinator. “If we can educate users about what to look for, we can work together to protect our lake’s health and vitality.”
Beginning in May and continuing through the summer months, residents and lake users can expect to learn about the most common invasive aquatic species threatening Chestermere Lake through an information campaign online and at the lake’s access points, such as the boat launch. This campaign will feature a new species each month, and users will discover how they can help the City of Chestermere combat them.
Since some species, such as mussels, are relatively tiny, they can go unnoticed in a body of water until they’ve already infested it, and it’s too late.
For this reason, the best thing residents and visiting lake users can do to help protect our lake is to always CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY your equipment. To help make this process easier and more convenient, the City, in partnership with the Western Irrigation District, will be offering a free Boat Cleaning System at the boat launch in June. Keep your eye out for more information about this system coming soon!
For more information on invasive aquatic species, visit www.chestermere.ca/ais.