Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada has announced it too will institute a boat ban after aquatic invasive mussels were found in the Tiber Reservoir in Montana last year.
The Waterton ban comes on the heels of Glacier National Park’s ban, which was announced last fall and remains in effect. Glacier’s ban is similar to Waterton’s.
Waterton’s ban is limited to motorized and trailer-launched watercraft in the park.
Human-powered watercraft, including canoes, kayaks and other hand-launched watercraft will still be allowed, though they will be subject to a mandatory self-inspection and permit system, the Park said.
Commercial boat tour operation will continue to operate on Upper and Middle Waterton Lake. These watercraft will be managed to ensure no risk of invasive mussel contamination, the Park said.
The Waterton Lakes have a unique ecology, the park notes. In addition to serving as habitat for threatened bull trout, they are the only known lakes to contain the assemblage of lake trout, pygmy whitefish, and rare glacial relic species such as opposum shrimp and deepwater sculpin.
The pygmy whitefish found in these lakes are considered a unique population and designated Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Upper Waterton Lake is the only known location of deep water sculpin in Alberta.
In addition, with the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan River Basin located in Waterton Lakes National Park, an invasive mussel infestation in the park could threaten irrigation networks for southern Alberta’s agricultural industry, water infrastructure for numerous jurisdictions including the cities of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, and other recreational areas, the park maintains.