An Okanagan native is picking up a camera and joining the fight against a looming invader.
Brynne Morrice, who grew up in Vernon and is an actor in New York City, is filming the documentary, The Threat of Zebra Mussels in B.C.
“This is really a story that needs to be told,” he said during an interview from New York.
It was during a visit to the Okanagan two years ago that he became aware of the possibility of zebra and quagga mussels, which originate from Europe, taking hold in the valley and changing the ecosystem.
“I was curious and looked it up. I became concerned. If it gets into our lakes and rivers, it will be devastating,” he said. “I came back home this summer and nothing has been done at the government level.”
It was then that Morrice decided to tap into his skills as an actor and a producer and launch a documentary along with his sister Eilidh Morrice-Ashdown and filmmaker Crystal Arnette. However, the first challenge was a lack of funding for the production. But that was resolved by seeking donors on the Kickstarter website.
“We had no idea if anyone would donate so we shot low (at $2,000). But within three days, we shot past $2,000,” said Morrice. “We are now at $3,000 and if we can raise an extra $2,000, we can do a couple of other things like travelling to Arizona and Texas.”
For Morrice, it’s important to show the damage quagga and zebra mussels have already caused across North America.
“Razor-sharp and foul-smelling mussel shells pile up on beaches. Native fish populations all but disappear as the filter-feeding mussels decimate the lake plankton, which form the foundation of the food chain (in the Great Lakes, where the mussels first took hold in North America, the lake trout population has declined by 95 per cent).”
Most of the B.C. filming for the documentary is completed.
It’s anticipated the documentary will be completed in January and then it will be posted on the Internet.
“The assertive goal is to get people to watch it and then call their MLA, MP and mayor and say they are concerned and they want inspection stations.”