The City of Chestermere and the Western Irrigation District (WID) have joined forces to keep Chestermere Lake and local waterbodies safe from aquatic invasive species by investing in a new boat cleaning system.
It is a free, waterless, user-operated boat cleaning system that will allow boaters to effectively clean, drain, and dry their watercrafts, an essential activity that helps stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. The system is made possible with support from the City of Chestermere, WID and a grant awarded by the Alberta government, through the Canadian Agriculture Partnership.
“Chestermere Lake is the centerpiece of our community and we recognize the importance of preventing aquatic invasive species from taking over the lake,” says Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “We are pleased to collaborate with the WID to preserve and protect the lake for future generations; this is an excellent example of partnership in our region.”
Chestermere Lake, situated just east of the City of Calgary, is an irrigation reservoir that is part of an extensive system of reservoirs, pipelines and canals that serve farms within the Western Irrigation District. The efforts to protect this infrastructure will enhance water security for farmers, businesses, families, and many others who rely heavily on the irrigation network.
WID Board Chair Dan Shute says, “We are happy to partner with the City of Chestermere to offer this system to the public. This is a great way for citizens to do their part to protect both Chestermere Lake and our downstream infrastructure. We hope all boaters will take the opportunity use the system this summer.”
While they may be small, aquatic invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels pose a significant threat to Chestermere Lake and the entire irrigation network. They are extremely hard to detect, but if established, are almost impossible to remove. They can reproduce at a rate of up to 1,000,000 new mussels per year, infesting irrigation pipes, making swimming areas dangerous and unusable, and creating noxious odours.
“These invasive species are not supposed to be here, they can plug off infrastructure and choke off pipelines which would be devastating for the WID,” says Shute.
Boats, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards can carry the ‘aquatic hitchhikers’ which can change the ecology and have a serious impact on the ecosystem. To date, Alberta has successfully kept them out of our waterways and using this boat cleaning system will help keep it that way.
“We encourage boaters to take up the habit of cleaning their boats, trailers and gear before and after every use to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species,” says Calvin Jukich, Plant Health Care Coordinator. “This system provides an extra layer of protection for Chestermere Lake from the contamination of these destructive plant and animal species and we encourage all residents and visitors to use it whenever they visit the lake.”
The unit will be conveniently located in the municipal boat launch parking area near John Peake Park and will be free of charge. Boat launch staff will allow users into the area for public day use from 8 am to 8 pm. Residents registered for a seasonal pass will be able to access it from 8 am to 10 pm daily.
Boaters have been able to use the system since Friday, May 28th.
To learn more about how to clean, drain and dry your boat properly, visit alberta.ca. To learn more about the Boat Cleaning Unit visit: www.chestermere.ca/boats