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Zebra mussels may prompt closure of national park lake, Manitoba government says

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WINNIPEG -

The Manitoba government says Parks Canada is considering closing a popular lake to boating this year because of zebra mussels.

Jamie Moses, the province's natural resources minister, says the potential closure of Clear Lake, in Riding Mountain National Park, would harm tourism, the economy and area residents.

Moses says he wants the federal government to consult people more before making a final decision.

Parks Canada says live zebra mussels were found in the lake last November, and an infestation could cause irreversible ecological damage to the lake and downstream bodies of water.

Clear Lake is one of Manitoba's biggest destinations for boaters, and zebra mussels can spread by attaching to boats.

Parks Canada says testing of the lake over the winter did not turn up any zebra mussel environmental DNA, but a decision has not yet been made about lake use this summer.

"Zebra Mussels may still be present despite negative (environmental DNA) results," reads a message on Parks Canada's website.

"Due to the complexity of the situation and ongoing research efforts, no decision has been made regarding the use of Clear Lake for 2024. Parks Canada remains committed to making the best decision based on available scientific evidence in combination with input received from stakeholders."

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024

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