This summer, the City of Chestermere worked hard to prevent invasive species from infesting Chestermere Lake and the results are paying off.
“We have not found any new invasive weed, insect or animal species in our lake this summer, which is good news,” says Mat Quinn, the City’s Integrated Pest Management Technician.
The most concerning species for Chestermere Lake this summer included invasive animals like Prussian Carp and Quagga Mussels, as well as invasive plants like Flowering Rush and Yellow Flag Iris. Once established, these species are very difficult to eradicate and can make it almost impossible to use a body of water for recreation and irrigation.
In addition to provincial boat inspections (which prevented a number of infested watercraft from reaching Chestermere Lake), the City launched an extensive public awareness campaign on social media and at the Boat Launch to help residents and visitors understand what they could do to help prevent the spread of these species.
“We spent a lot of time spreading the message that boaters need to clean, drain and dry anything that goes in our lake and we appreciate the help of the Watershed committee, Western Irrigation District and lakefront owners in sharing that information,” says Quinn. “We believe their efforts made a difference in keeping our lake free of new invaders.”
Over the summer, the City also worked with the Provincial government to research how to best remove Flowering Rush, an invasive species already found in Chestermere Lake. Spearheaded by Alberta Agriculture & Forestry Weed Specialist Nicole Kimmel, various methods were used to assess the most effective removal of the plant. The research team hopes to have the final results soon and use the information to help with the eradication of the plant in the future.
“When the Lake is drained after Thanksgiving, we will be back to remove our plots and collect our final round of samples. Please do not disturb plots until all our markers are removed,” says Kimmel. “A huge thank you to all the residents, we truly appreciate your help and accommodation.”
As the busy summer season comes to a close, staff would like to thank all the residents that have shown concern and interest in the Aquatic Invasive Species program and to all the boaters who have made sure to clean, drain and dry their boats.
“We are looking forward to another successful season next year with more collaborations,” says Quinn. “If we all do our part, we can keep the lake free of invasive species and open for everyone to enjoy.”