Permanent stations to protect B.C. from invasive mussels

Thompson region will benefit from a $2-million boost to the province’s invasive mussel defence program

KAMLOOPS – Lakes and rivers in the Thompson region will benefit from a $2-million boost to the province’s invasive mussel defence program that will see eight permanent mussel inspection stations installed at major entry points along B.C.’s borders, Kamloops MLAs Terry Lake and Todd Stone announced last week

Five permanent stations will be set up along the Alberta-B.C. border (Cranbrook, Invermere, Golden, Valemount and Dawson Creek), and three stations will be along the U.S.-B.C. border (Lower Mainland, Penticton and Nelson).

“No zebra or quagga mussels have ever been found in B.C. waters, and we are hard at work to ensure it stays that way,” said Stone, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA. “This new program is a result of our experience with last year’s pilot project and our ongoing work with other agencies and the communities most affected.”

“The eight permanent inspection stations and trained staff will further boost our early detection and rapid response program,” said Lake, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA. “This strategy is part of our continuing efforts to keep B.C. free of invasive mussels, which can cause widespread damage if allowed to take hold in our waterways.”

In total, 32 conservation officers will work the stations, which will operate 10 hours a day, seven days a week from April through October.

This is an increase of 20 crew members from last year’s pilot and an additional six mobile decontamination units are being added to the fleet of equipment.

The eight inspection stations will have the capability to become mobile if the need arises, travelling to locations throughout B.C. where watercrafts are being detained, waiting for decontamination.

The Invasive Mussel Defence pilot program was launched in 2015. During May-October 2015, more than 4,300 boats were inspected, of which 70 were identified as coming from an invasive mussel-infested province or state. Out of these 70 watercraft, 34 required decontamination and 15 were confirmed to be transporting invasive mussels or their larvae. Six were issued a 30-day quarantine order due to risk of live mussels.

Quagga and zebra mussels pose a serious threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities. They can clog pipes, cause ecological and economic damage, displace native aquatic plants and wildlife, degrade the environment and affect drinking-water quality.

Find out more about quagga and zebra invasive mussel species and the environmental, economic and social impacts they pose to freshwater:https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/invasive-quagga-mussels-and-zebra-mussels

Find out more about the Clean Drain Dry program, and the Invasive Species Council of BC at: http://bcinvasives.ca/resources/programs/clean-drain-dry