The spring 2019 status report on the Provincial Mussel Defence Program was recently published on the program’s website. The program’s goal is to prevent the introduction of invasive zebra and quagga mussels (ZQM) into B.C. by inspecting boats, monitoring lakes and educating the public. Watercraft inspection stations are currently operating across the province. As of May 31, 5,500 inspections have taken place and five boats were found to be infested with the invasive mussels
It would only take one contaminated boat to start a new infestation! To date, B.C. is still free of invasive mussels, which have caused millions in damage per year to hydropower stations, and municipal water supplies in other parts of North America that have already been invaded by ZQM. In addition to economic impacts, ZQM can negatively impact biodiversity, species at risk, fisheries productivity, water quality, and recreation opportunities.
During the 2018 operations season 78,000 people were reached to promote the Clean, Drain, Dry message, 450 decontaminations were performed and 82 violation tickets were issued to people who failed to stop at the mandatory inspection stations. The majority of non-compliant vehicles were carrying non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks, paddleboards and canoes.
NEW for 2019 is the addition of another mussel detection dog named Major. This is a welcome addition to the southeast region since Major’s handler Cynthia Mann is located in Nelson BC.
Lake monitoring is another aspect of the Provincial Mussel Defence Program. Next to prevention, the next best tool in our toolbox is early detection. The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) will be conducting plankton sampling for invasive mussels in the West and Central Kootenay region from June through October. The CKISS staff collect samples within nine different high priority waterbodies. These samples are sent to a provincial lab to be analyzed for zebra and quagga mussel veligers, the free-swimming microscopic mussel larvae.
In an effort to encourage watercraft users to arrive at waterbodies with clean boats and gear CKISS is coordinating six new Clean Drain Dry signs to be installed at popular boat launches this summer. New signs will be located at Scotties Marina, New Denver and Kaslo public boat launches, Beaver Creek Provincial Park, Wragge Beach and Howser Recreation sites.
The CKISS outreach booth will be at a variety of community events and boat launches throughout the summer to talk to watercraft enthusiasts about Clean, Drain Dry Protocol.
CKISS OUTREACH BOOTH SCHEDULE
- June 29, Syringa Provincial Parl Boat Launch
- July 6, Balfour Daze
- July 13, Kokanee Creek Boat Launch
- July 27, Trail Farmers Market
- Aug 3, Kaslo Farmers Marker
- August 10 , New Denver Public Boat Launch
- August 21- 22, Toadfest @ Summit Lake Provincial Park
- August 25, Redfish Festival at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park
CKISS would like to remind the public that suspected invasive mussels should be reported immediately to the Conservation Officer Services Report All Poachers and Polluters: 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).
How is the Mussel Defence Program Funded?
The Invasive Mussel Defence Program (IMDP) is a shared delivery between staff from the B.C. Conservation Office Service (COS) and the Environmental Sustainability & Strategic Policy Division (ESSPD) within the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV). The Program would like to recognize the ongoing funding provided by BC Hydro, Fortis BC, Columbia Power Corporation, and Columbia Basin Trust to support the delivery of the program. For more information about the Program please visit www.gov.bc.ca/invasivemussels.
CKISS acknowledges the support of its funders who supported the CKISS mussel-monitoring & education programs including Columbia Power Corporation, Columbia Basin Trust and Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy/Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.