Kim Kaiser, Columbia Shswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), outreach program co-ordinator as of Jan. 1, 2019 checks for quagga mussels. (Photo contributed)

Kim Kaiser, Columbia Shswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), outreach program co-ordinator as of Jan. 1, 2019 checks for quagga mussels. (Photo contributed)

Invasive mussels being held at bay in the Shuswap

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society sampling finds no sign of the mollusks

So far so good. That’s the message from the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS).

The society has been completing early detection lake sampling in the Columbia Shuswap region for microscopic larvae of the invasive zebra and quagga mussels for the past four years. Throughout the 2018 season, CSISS staff collected 118 samples from 22 waterbodies in the Columbia Shuswap Region. Similar programs are taking place across the province, and as with previous years, there was no detection of zebra or quagga mussels were found in any sampled waterbodies in British Columbia.

“This is such great news,” said Robyn Hooper, executive director of CSISS. “If mussels did get into B.C. waters, we could be looking at huge costs to just manage them on underwater infrastructure, let alone the damaging effects on fish and water quality, and the fact that our beautiful sandy beaches would become nasty banks of razor-sharp, stinking shells.”

CSISS collaborated with many partners and stakeholders throughout the region to provide extended outreach and monitoring efforts in 2018. The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund funded CSISS to monitor waterbodies in the Columbia Shuswap region, and the Shuswap Watershed Council and Columbia Basin Trust funded aquatic outreach activities, along with extra monitoring.

Outreach at boat launches, aquatic-focused events, and a special marina-focused networking event attended by politicians and the BC Ministry of Environment’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program was also held in June to increase awareness of the issue.

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold has called for federal funding to be available to protect B.C. from the threat of invasive mussels. At present only a small proportion of the federal Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) budget is spent on Western Provinces.

Arnold has won unanimous support for a bill to study the federal government’s approach to managing the spread of the aquatic invasive species.

Related:Regional district wants more done to prevent quagga mussel spread

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District supported this study and asked about whether federal funds for these types of programs are distributed in an equitable way around the country.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has called for the B.C. government to bring in legislation requiring all watercraft to be inspected before launching in provincial waters.

Citizens have a role to play in keeping these invaders out as well.

All watercraft users coming into B.C. are required to stop at provincial inspection stations, where decontamination may be required for potentially infested watercraft. It is mandatory to stop at the inspections stations if you are transporting any type of watercraft, including canoes, paddleboards, fishing float-waders, or any other type of boat.

It is also illegal to transport invasive mussels, dead or alive, on boats or related equipment into or within B.C. Failure to clean mussels off boats or equipment can result in a fine of up to $100,000.

“We encourage all boat or watercraft owners to be sure to ‘clean, drain and dry’ your watercraft and water toys every time you move it to another waterbody,” says CSISS outreach co-ordinator Sue Davies. “Clean off all weeds, mud, and any encrusting material (ensure your trailer is clean too), drain all water from all parts of your watercraft onto dry land and dry off your watercraft.”

Invasive species are of concern across Canada, and humans can play a large role in preventing their spread. Anyone who sees a boat mussels cleaning to it or equipment is asked to report it by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, management and reduction of invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. CSISS is thankful for the generous support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and the Province of BC.

To learn more, go to the society’s website at http://www.columbiashuswapinvasives.org or contact CSISS at info@columbiashuswapinvasives.org, or call 1-855-785-9333.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Interior Health and School District 83 are responding to a confirmed COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm Secondary Sullivan campus. (File photo)
COVID-19 virus returns to Salmon Arm Secondary campus

Member of Sullivan campus tests positive for COVID-19

A member of the M.V. Beattie Elementary School community tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement issued Jan. 17, 2021. (photo submitted)
COVID-19 exposure at Enderby elementary

Member of school community tests positive for virus

Bastion Elementary was open Monday, Jan. 17, after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed among the school community. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 case confirmed at second Salmon Arm elementary school

Member of Bastion Elementary community self-isolating, students allowed to attend school

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Most Read