On December 4, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, announced federal investments of $14.7 million over the next five years for conservation projects to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species in Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes and Yoho national parks.
The mountain national parks are particularly vulnerable to aquatic invasive species due to the high amount of water recreationists who visit each year. Aquatic invasive species alter aquatic ecosystems, cause irreversible damage, impact vulnerable species at risk, and spread downstream beyond park boundaries through the interconnected river systems. Of particular concern for the mountain national parks are invasive mussels, which deplete available nutrients and in turn affects the entire food web by altering water chemistry and quality, as well as the parasite that causes whirling disease, which leads to skeletal deformities for native species. This investment will help address major threats to aquatic ecosystems by funding programs to prevent and educate against the spread of aquatic invasive species.