K9 Officer Major has joined the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s Invasive Mussel Defence to protect lakes in the Okanagan and B.C. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News

K9 officer joins fight against invasive mussels in Okanagan lakes

Major joins the provincial government’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program’s 5th year

Invasive mussel species have not yet reached British Columbia’s lakes and the provincial government is ensuring they stay out of B.C. waters with help from an additional four-legged conservation officer.

Environment Minister George Heyman was in West Kelowna on Friday afternoon to detail the government’s 2019 Invasive Mussel Defence Program and introduce B.C. conservation officer K9 Major.

“British Columbians depend on our clean waterways for fishing, recreation and tourism. Zebra and quagga mussels pose a serious threat to these activities, as well as to our fish populations and sensitive ecosystems,” Heyman said.

“With the addition of a second detection dog, we will be able to conduct more inspections to prevent these destructive species from entering our province.”

READ MORE: Invasive mussels campaign ramps up for May long weekend

READ MORE: Kelowna General Hospital nurses happy with increased security

Quagga and zebra mussels have been found in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, as well as dozens of states in the United States. From now until late October 2019, inspectors with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) will be at 12 inspection stations throughout the province, educating the public about invasive mussels and checking boats travelling into and through B.C. before they enter the water.

The COS leads the enforcement of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program with 64 inspectors and Major, the COS’s second detection dog.

This will be the first season for Major and his handler Sgt. Cynthia Mann, who will join veteran detection dog Kilo. Kilo conducted more than 900 inspections and detected invasive mussels on two boats in his first year. Major and Kilo will primarily work at inspection stations, they are also trained in detecting firearms, bear parts and more.

READ MORE: Lake Okanagan Resort again under new management

Heyman ensured continued program funding from the provincial government on Friday, as the 2019 program includes more inspections and more opportunities to generate public awareness.

Almost $4 million is funded towards the program every year with funds coming from BC Hydro, Columbia Power and FortisBC.

More information on the Invasive Mussel Defence Program can be found at gov.bc.ca.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

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

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

Kelowna to introduce new strategy for community education about supportive housing

The model seeks to enhance community engagement, accessibility and transparency

GoFundMe campaign started for young Kelowna girl in need of service dog

Alena suffered from an in utero MCA stroke, that affected most of the right side of her brain

Summerhill Winery proposes college for sustainable food production

The proposed Culinary College for Humanity will help to develop a sustainable food culture

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Sewer service planned for South Okanagan community of Kaleden

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen plans to extend Okanagan Falls system into Kaleden

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read