Ottawa asked to commit to mussel prevention

How will federal funding be distibuted?

Members of the Okanagan Basin Water Board are reiterating a call to Ottawa for help with invasive mussels.

This week, eight months after a meeting in Ottawa to discuss the issue and with another boating season around the corner, the board sent a follow-up letter on the “urgent need for federal action.”

“We are disheartened that the federal government hasn’t made this a priority in our area. We have had no follow up communication, or commitment, on how they would contain the mussels in regions already infested and prevent them from spreading to Western Canada,” said OBWB Chair Tracy Gray, in a press release.

In June, Gray was joined by a number of fellow Water Board directors for a meeting with Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech, who is also parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Nicholas Winfield – director general ecosystems management for DFO, Ashraf Amlani – DFO special assistant for the Pacific – West Coast, and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr.

At the time, it was noted that $43.8 million was allocated to address aquatic invasive species in Canada from the 2017-18 fiscal year to 2021-22 fiscal year. The OBWB contingent made the case for some of it to go to invasive mussel action.

RELATED: NO ZEBRA OR QUAGGA MUSSELS FOUND IN COLUBIA SHUSWAP

A 2013 study for the Water Board estimated that the economic impact of invasive zebra or quagga mussels to could be at least $42 million each year in lost revenue, added maintenance of aquatic infrastructure and irreparable ecological damage in the Okanagan. A similar study found it would cost the Pacific Northwest $500 million annually. In the Great Lakes, where the mussels gained a foothold in the 1980s, the annual cost to control zebra mussels in water intakes alone is $250 million.

“We know from that June meeting that there is federal funding for aquatic invasive species and expect that some will go to protecting our region from invasive mussels. We also want to see funding and resources to develop a comprehensive federal strategy to protect our waters. That’s our goal,” Gray said.

This week’s follow-up letter was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Dominic LeBlanc, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.

Among other things, it says: “We ask how this $43.8 million is being distributed to contain or prevent the spread of invasive mussels, what occurred in 2017, and what the plans are for 2018-2021. Is the distribution occurring by region, or by invasive species type and who is overseeing this?”

Learn more about the mussels, the risks to the Okanagan, how to ‘Have the Talk’ with returning snowbirds and visitors to our region, as well as “Clean-Drain-Dry” and other prevention tips to protect our waters, at www.DontMoveAMussel.ca.

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



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Licoln Hoel dominates B.C. Summer Games triathlon

West Kelowna teen competes in the final today

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Progress being made on Okanagan wildfires

Danger not over, fires could flare up again

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

RCMP working wildfires deploy spike belt to nab alleged auto thief from Oliver.

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Progress being made on Okanagan wildfires

Danger not over, fires could flare up again

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Update: Wildfire near Summerland mapped at 118 hectares

The Mount Conkle wildfire is 90 per cent guarded

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Most Read