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Parks Canada is closing all our bodies of water in British Columbia’s Kootenay and Yoho nationwide parks, and limiting watercraft in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in an effort to gradual the unfold of invasive species.

The lakes, creeks and tributaries in jap British Columbia shall be closed till no less than March subsequent yr in response to the lethal whirling illness parasite present in fish.

On the similar time, non-motorized watercraft from outdoors park boundaries won’t be allowed into Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in southern Alberta beginning April 1, to guard towards each whirling illness and invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

Jeanette Goulet, with the aquatic invasive species program for mountain nationwide parks, mentioned Tuesday that boats are the principle method species are transferred between our bodies of water.

“They’ll decide up issues like mud, sand and sediments, plant fragments,” she mentioned.

“And if their tools isn’t cleaned of all of that, drained of any standing water, and dried for a sure period of time, then that poses an enormous danger of transferring aquatic organisms … between water our bodies.”

British Columbia’s first case of whirling illness was detected in Emerald Lake final yr and was later present in Kicking Horse River, Wapta Lake, Finn Creek, Monarch Creek and the confluence of Emerald River and the Kicking Horse River.

Entry was first restricted for 5 months final October, and François Masse, Parks Canada’s superintendent for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay, mentioned extending the restrictions one other yr will assist defend fish species together with a number of varieties of trout and Kokanee.

Goulet mentioned employees shall be monitoring the parks and anybody discovered breaking the foundations might face a advantageous of as much as $25,000.

There’s no therapy particularly for whirling illness, Goulet mentioned, and eradicating the diseased fish from the water system isn’t possible.

She mentioned officers are gathering extra info earlier than deciding what’s subsequent.

“Different jurisdictions have both determined to let the an infection play out and see if a pure resistance does construct up within the fish, or, in some locations the place they’ve seen inhabitants decline within the States, they’ve truly restocked with trout which have a resistance which have been bred in hatcheries,” she mentioned.

“I don’t know if we might ever go that route in parks.”

Locke Marshall, the superintendent for Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park, mentioned together with the ban on non-motorized watercraft from outdoors park boundaries, fishing for all species will now not be permitted in flowing waters within the park, however shall be allowed beneath present rules in park lakes.

He mentioned invasive zebra and quagga mussels which might be current in different Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions pose a menace to Waterton Lakes and downstream infrastructure throughout southern Alberta.

He mentioned if infestations begin, they’ll price thousands and thousands to manage.

Marshall mentioned a compulsory inspection station for non-motorized boats has been working since 2021 however solely 56 per cent of watercraft customers participated final yr.

“The danger of aquatic invasive species spreading is just too excessive to proceed with this earlier strategy,” he mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed March 19, 2024.

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