Kelowna-Lake Country MLA and B.C. Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick (right) gets a crash course on how to properly spray down a boat to keep it free zebra and quagga mussels by the enviorment ministry's Matthias Herbordg (centre) during an anouncement by the province Tuesday its is adding another $1.3 milion to the fight to keep the the destructive mussels out of B.C. waters. Also pictured is Kelowna-Mission MLA and Forests

Province takes aim at invasive mussels

Although these invasive species have never been detected in British Columbia, this program expansion increases protection of B.C.’s lakes

The provincial government  is taking aim at invasive mussels with a $1.3-million boost for programs that focus on early detection and rapid response.

Through this program, teams will inspect and, if necessary, decontaminate boats entering B.C. from Alberta. They also will respond to boats from the U.S. identified as a concern by the Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as U.S. partner agencies.

In an announcement made in Kelowna Tuesday morning by Environment Minister Mary Pollack, she said B.C. will work with a number of partners to keep zebra and quagga mussels out of the provincial waters, including Alberta and Washington, and the federal government, as well as the Canadian Border Security Agency and corporations like B.C. Hydro.

She said each crew will be equipped with mobile self-contained decontamination units.

The teams will consist of trained auxiliary conservation officers coming from university compliance training programs offered by Vancouver Island University, providing valuable experience for students and recent graduates

Twenty-four new highway signs featuring the Clean, Drain, Dry program are also being installed at significant entry points into the province.

“We want to make sure these little critters do not get into out lakes and waters,” she said.

While the province’s latest move doesn’t go as far as the Okanagan Basin Water Board would have liked, chairman Doug Findlater, Mayor of West Kelowna, said he’s happy to see something being done.

He said the OBWB would likely watch how the new moves are going before renewing any calls for monitoring stations at all major road entrances to B.C.

Pollack said although these invasive species have never been detected in British Columbia, this program expansion increases protection of B.C.’s lakes and rivers against the threat of quagga and zebra mussels.

In a news release from her cabinet colleague Todd Stone, B.C. transportation minister, Stone said: “My ministry is proud to be part of this important program. Preventing invasive mussel species from entering our province is crucial to protecting our waterways. I hope to see every boat entering B.C. clean, drained and dry.”

On Tuesday in Kelowna, environment ministry officials gave a demonstration of how to clean, and dry boats that have been in the water to make sure they have no mussels attached.

They said while in most cases washing off boats would be good enough, boaters who use water bodies in the U.S. and Alberta need to be extra vigilant to help keep the destructive mussels from entering B.C.

It is estimated that if they were to get a foothold in B.C. waters, the damage they would create could costs hundreds of millions to repair because they not only clog up pipes they deplete the water they are in of nutrients for other aquatic life.

Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a significant threat to B.C.’s and Canada’s freshwater ecosystems, said local MLA Norm Letnick.  “Invasive mussels pose a threat to our agricultural producers who rely on effective irrigation systems, and so this program is very important to minimize potential financial risk.”


Just Posted

Keeping pets safe at Christmas

This time of year presents a lot of possible health hazards for our pets

West Kelowna to stick with regional transportation planning

City council votes to rescind its move to leave regional planning body

Vehicle fire in Kelowna quarry

A vehicle in a Stewart Road quarry burned Thursday morning.

Crash snarls commuter traffic in West Kelowna

One was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon.

Vernon at centre of rail trails convergence

More local development input sought for Okanagan and North Okanagan/Shuswap rail trails

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Anderson extends invitation to Liberal voters

Interim B.C. Conservative party leader invites “disenfranchised Liberal voters” to join his party

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Most Read