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

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Despite health and safety measures put in place for its July 3 reopening, the Salmar Grand hasn’t seen the audience numbers needed to remain open seven days a week. (File photo)
Salmon Arm’s Salmar Grand movie theatre reduces days of operation

Lack of new movie releases, limited audience numbers lead to decision

School District 83 will see another teacher reduction, this one expected at South Broadview Elementary come Monday, Oct. 26. (File photo)
Union objects to reductions in teaching positions in North Okanagan-Shuswap

South Broadview Elementary expected to see reduction of kindergarten teacher on Oct. 26

Salmon Arm resident Baillie Bridle turned an 80 cent spin of an online slot machine into almost $800,000. (BCL photo)
Salmon Arm woman hits online jackpot, winning close to $800,000

Winner says money may be used to purchase boat

Sorrento Food Bank Manager Tina Hyssop and treasurer Carmen Burt receive a $1,000 from Joyce Adrian Sotski of The Third House and Shuswap Association of Writers president Debra Turner. The money was raised through the sale of Celebration of Creativity, a collection of works by local writers and artists. (Shirley Bigelow DeKelver photo)
Collection of creative works by Shuswap artists benefits food banks

Sorrento and Second Harvest food banks receive $1,000 donations

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan arrives at Luxton Hall to cast their votes in advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP received footage of a suspect vehicle littering hate flyers around 21st Avenue in Vernon Oct. 17, 2020. (RCMP)
WATCH: Footage offers lead in hate-fuelled flyer probe: Vernon Mounties

Vernon police received footage of an older model green truck distributing flyers in the early morning hours Saturday

An early morning fire destroyed the Willems Fire Products mill Friday, Oct. 16. (Contributed)
Fire claims longtime Lumby mill

Go Fund Me established to help family-owned business rebuild

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Firefighters respond to what turned out to be a stove-top fire off Okanagan Avenue on Oct. 19, 2020 about 6 p.m. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm firefighters respond to report of residential fire

Fortunately fire turned out to be a stove-top fire

Charmaine Scherck with her fiancee, Jason. Friends of the Vernon mortgage broker have started a GoFundMe after a spinal cord stroke left her paralyzed from the chest down Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)
Funds raised for Vernon woman who awoke mysteriously paralyzed

Friends are rallying support for Charmaine Scherck, who suffered a spinal cord stroke on Sept. 17

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Most Read