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Prevention and Monitoring

Report an aquatic invasive species to the toll-free TIPP line at 1-800-667-7561.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native animals or plants which are usually spread from one waterbody to another by attaching to watercraft, trailers and related aquatic equipment. AIS, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a serious threat to lakes and waterways in western Canada. These small but destructive mussels have been discovered in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and 34 states, including Minnesota and North Dakota.


Preventing the entry and establishment of aquatic invasive species is the most cost-effective solution to ensure harmful species are not intentionally or unintentionally introduced into our waterbodies. Once an invasive species has been introduced, the effort and cost of management and control increases significantly, and the likelihood of eradicating that species decreases as time passes.

Saskatchewan has implemented a number of programs to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful AIS in Saskatchewan:

Watercraft Inspection Program

The province operates watercraft inspection stations to assess watercraft risk and to inspect and decontaminate watercrafts and equipment coming from out-of-province. The movement of recreational boats watercraft between waterbodies is one of the main ways that invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels have spread in North America.

Education and Outreach

Educating the public about the impacts of AIS, how to identify them and what they can do to stop the spread is the best way we can prevent these destructive species from harming our ecosystems.

Legislation and Enforcement

In Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Environment is the lead agency for managing aquatic invasive species, however, the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety is responsible for enforcing regulations related to AIS in Saskatchewan.


Saskatchewan conducts regular monitoring to detect aquatic invasive species, such as invasive mussels and spiny waterflea.

Zebra and quagga mussels have multiple life stages and can be spread differently in each distinct stage. One mature female mussel can produce up to a million eggs each year. The eggs hatch into free swimming microscopic larvae called veligers, which can't be seen with the naked eye. Veligers can be transported in standing water in watercraft and related gear, and float in the water column of lakes and rivers. This life stage can last up to a few weeks until the mussels settle onto a hard surface, where the development of their shells will begin. Newly settled juvenile mussels continue to grow into adults, reaching up to two inches in size and living for up to five years. Juvenile and adult mussels have byssal threads which allow them to attach onto hard surfaces. Adult mussels can survive out of water for several weeks.

Veliger Monitoring

The Ministry of Environment partners with over 10 different organizations to monitor zebra and quagga mussel veligers in Saskatchewan's lakes and rivers each year. Monitoring includes the deployment of fine plankton tow nets in the water column to collect tiny particles present in the water. These water samples are sent to a laboratory and analyzed to determine if any invasive species are present in the waterbody where the sample was collected.

Waterbodies are sampled several times during the open water season, beginning in early summer when waters warm to temperatures suitable for invasive mussel spawning. Sampling continues throughout the summer and into fall, with priority waterbodies being sampled numerous times a season.

To date, there have been no zebra or quagga mussels detected in Saskatchewan waters.

Substrate Sampling and the AIMM Program

To monitor juvenile and adult zebra and quagga mussels, program participants deploy substrate samplers in lakes and rivers which act as artificial surfaces for larval mussels to settle on. These samplers are checked multiple times throughout the open water season for the presence of juvenile and adult invasive mussels. The results of this type of sampling are reported as part the Adult Invasive Mussel Monitoring (AIMM) Program.

If you own a cabin, dock or are otherwise able to participate in the program, the province would appreciate your help. The AIMM form is available to all government ministries, non-government organizations, cottagers and the public. You can enter an invasive mussel survey by simply checking shorelines, docks or boats, or you can request a substrate sampler to deploy in your waterbody by contacting the Ministry of Environment at 1-800-567-4224 or by email at

By participating in the monitoring program, you are helping to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Saskatchewan. Knowing that there are no invasive mussels within a waterbody is as important as notifying the TIPP hotline if an adult invasive mussel is found at a waterbody. Early detection of invasive species is critical to controlling and managing their spread.

Learn about the AIMM program and how you can get involved

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