A week of energy, passion and courage.

Boat captains, specialized rescuers, scientific divers, GPS and inventory biologists, land and water runners, dive coordinator, boat wash worker, all braved the cold fall temperatures and wind, repeatedly saying how lucky they were to be part of this adventure. From Monday to Friday, they went out on Lake Massawippi following a methodical, meticulous and demanding protocol to search for zebra mussels, most often measuring less than 3 mm, and some days finding none or just one isolated mussel (photo below). (3 scientific divers from the Quebec Aquarium were absent for the photo above)

Photo below: Filippo Ferrario


The big manoeuvres

This large-scale operation cost more than $50,000, financed in large part directly by the Minsitère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec (MFFP). This is without counting the in-kind contributions of local hotel and restaurant owners, media and communications management, Blue Massawippi’s equipment, such as the mobile boat wash station and the Blue Patrol boat, and its employees reassigned to this project, and the investments of the Massawippi Regional Park through maintenance of the access to Massawippi Beach. The organization of such a deployment given the equipment, security and logistical requirements on the ground and on the water is a huge feat, especially when considering that it was achieved in less than 10 days.

CURRENT SITUATION :  Establishing a realistic overview

Turning the lake into a grid.

Annick Drouin, Biologist, Ph.D. - Aquatic Invasive Species at the MFFP is the main person responsible for this exceptional scientific operation. Hour after hour, she supervised all the dives, turning the lake into a grid of 45 sectors to determine those most conducive to the establishment of zebra mussels.

For all the scientist on site, It's the first time that they've seen such an early detection, it's the first time that they've seen a detection protocol as efficient as Blue Massawippi’s protocol, and it's the first time that they've seen a scientific mobilization like this, it's exciting and inspiring. But only the detailed analysis of all the data will guide their recommendations and the eventual publication of the results.

The data analysis they referred to includes more than just the status of contaminated sites or the number of mussels recorded. The relationships between DNAe tests, the results of the veliger (larvae) density analysis, the data collectors, the soil types, the currents, etc. still need to be determined. The analysis will be submitted to several experts including Isabelle Picard, for Blue Massawippi, but also experienced scientists who will have a fresh take on this project.

Véliger density analysis

The veligers are in the north

Entrusted to Memphremagog Conservation, the veliger density analysis was performed in conjunction with that of the Memphremagog on October 28 when the water was still at 12°. Not surprisingly, "The veliger (zebra mussel larvae) samples taken in Lake Massawippi revealed that there are far fewer veligers in the water of Lake Massawippi than in Lake Memphremagog, and that they were more likely to be found in the northern portion of the lake." reports Frédérique Thibault-Lessard B.ENV, project manager at MCI. Thank you!

The case of Lake Massawippi at the Canadian Freshwater Mollusc Research  Meeting 

Under the microscope in Canada

It’s only been 3 weeks since the discovery of the first mussel and already, Lake Massawippi takes the spotlight at the triennial meeting of Canadian experts in the field. Our consultant Isabelle Picard (Stantec), developer of our detection protocol, will present a case study of early-stage contamination in a high-risk lake. The meeting will take place on December 7 and 8.

Photo: Filippo Ferrario 

Continuing without delay - phase 2

Diving before the ice

Although we must wait for the completed analyses and recommendations before we can submit an official intermediate-term plan, we already know that: 1. The mussels are juveniles and will not reproduce until next year; 2. The concentration of mussels is low; 3. They are mostly located in the northeast sectors; and 4. The more dives we do, the more time we will save in terms of years, even decades. We estimate that a budget of $150,000 will be necessary by April 30, 2022.

In the meantime, we must resume diving WITHOUT DELAY on November 15. Our dive plans will depend on the amount of money we will have received from our socio-financing campaign, created for this purpose: STOP ZEBRA MUSSELS . Click on the picture to help us pay the divers !

To follow our fight against zebra mussels in the media



The zebra mussel adores your water intake, your boat, and your shoreline installations (docks, buoys, cement, metal). By answering our questionnaire, you are actively participating in the fight against the zebra mussel, and are providing us with the tools we need to evaluate the situation and to foresee long-term inspection needs. We need your help now, it’s urgent!


Participate in the shoreline inventory


Number of responses as of November 5th : 96


Access to the lake RESTRICTED

REMINDER: Wash your boat upon entering and exiting

Since October 25th, by order of the 5 lakeside municipalities and the Régie du Parc régional Massawippi, all access to the lake is forbidden EXCEPT at the Massawippi beach, with mandatory and FREE washing upon entering and upon exiting. This rule applies to all boats, whether or not you are a resident, whether or not you have a sticker, whether or not your boat is motorized. Blue Massawippi's mobile washing station, equipped with hot water, is operated by the Regional Park from 7am to 2pm, 7 days a week. At all other times, no other boat ramps or outings are permitted.

The boat ramp will be open until November 12th. This week, the Massawippi Regional Park and the municipalities will re-evaluate plans for this boat access. We recommend that residents take their boats out by Friday.

Scientific  Solidarity - Community Solidarity 

HOW TO SAY THANK YOU?  By saying: This is not over! 😎


A week like this could not have happened without solidarity. At all levels. The divers called it an unprecedented mobilization. As the divers told us: “What if we set an example to follow by not giving up in the face of the invader? The zebra mussel has never been detected so early...it will be difficult to do, but why not?”

As for local businesses, the questions are not as pointed. The only item on the agenda is What can we do to help you? This combination of science, local community and the undeniable power of the media is very impressive.


Scientific Solidarity

Isabelle Picard, Stantec: Without her, no one would know about the establishment of the zebra mussel in Lake Massawippi. For the past 4 years, she has always had the last word on our actions to counter the zebra mussel, and she will continue to do so every day, for the next few months.

Annick Drouin of the MFFP is the one who believed in the project, convinced her bosses, made available $40,000, mobilized divers from all over, and coordinated the dives with brilliance.

Ariane Orjikh of Memphremagog Conservation and Denis Mongeau of Plongée Magog were the first to respond when further exploration was necessary, and provided leadership throughout the week.

Camille Gosselin-Bouchard of the COGESAF, field leader for the Table de la concertation de la MRC de Memphrémagog, who participated in the project since the very beginning, and spent the entire week on the lake.

The scientific divers, dive assistants and captains: Maxime Vigneault (MFFP), Filippo Ferrario (U. Laval), Raphaël Mabit (UQAR), Marie-Pierre Lessard, Daniel Babin, Christian St-Pierre, Marie-Lyne Deshaies, Florence Robertson, Catherine Rousseau, Stéphann Grégoire, Nicolas Gagnon from the Aquarium du Québec, Roxanne Sage, scientific diver assigned to safety, and Jessy Cöté, RAPPEL captain.

Blue Massawippi staff: Vincent Lemieux (biologist, surface assistant), Philippe-David Blanchette (assistant to the general manager), Nicole Blanchette (logistics on land and on the water, transportation of media representatives, and supply transport to the sites), and Julie Jacques (translations).



Community Solidarity 

The Hovey Manor, which opened its doors exclusively to those of the team who came from afar. A stay they will not soon forget.

Alex from the restaurant chez Maurice, Katrine from the Cliff pub, Michael from Café Folies, Danielle and Guy from Marché Tradition in Ayer's Cliff.

Maïtée Cantin, for the daily logistical support of restaurant owners and social media network posts.

Boulangerie Ô Terroir in Coaticook for the croissants that we enjoyed every morning.

Fred and Patrick of the Pilsen for Thursday night.

Johanne at the boat wash station, 7 days a week, rain or shine.

Étienne from the HOP Station microbrewery in Coaticook for the Friday afternoon surprise.

André Martel from the Massawippi Regional Park who ensured contact with the municipalities.

The journalists Isabelle Pion and Viatka Sundborg from La Tribune de Sherbrooke and Amélie Paquette from NOOVO.

The excellence and consistency of the coverage, the quality of the images, the meticulous editing and the thorough scientific vulgarization contribute greatly to the success of this mission.


Thank you from Lake Massawippi

Michèle Gérin, General Manager, Blue Massawippi

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Next edition scheduled for November 21, 2021