The federal government is directing some funds for research and education, with the goal of preventing a zebra and quagga mussels invasion in the Okanagan.
Stephen Fuhr, Kelowna-Lake County MP made the announcement on B.C. Day, that Simon Fraser University (SFU) will receive $100,000 over four years to conduct research that will help assess the risk of spread and predict the ecological impacts of these non-native mussels
The mussels pose a threat to waterways and native species, as well as water systems drawing from local lakes. This funding is for research to understand the threat and to educate the public on how they can help to prevent the spread.
Zebra and quagga mussels have not yet been recorded in B.C. but the Okanagan is at high risk of invasion due to the proximity of established populations and the discovery of these mussels on recreational boats intercepted en route to the Okanagan.
“I’m proud that the federal government has stepped up,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a speech in Penticton, where he highlighted the need to work together and take responsibility for the environment.
Fuhr also announced that an additional $400,000 over three years will be invested for education and outreach purposes to complement the current efforts of the provincial government and other partners within the Okanagan basin. The Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) will use this funding to create new and updated signage at boat launches, television commercials and informative articles, as well as online resources.
These resources will be beneficial in creating consistent messaging across B.C.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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