Watercraft Inspection Stations can be found along the southern and eastern borders of B.C. (B.C. Government image)

Watercraft Inspection Stations can be found along the southern and eastern borders of B.C. (B.C. Government image)

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

While lake sampling this spring and summer for invasive mussels in the Columbia Shuswap region looked good, several watercraft carrying the threatening species were found while they were entering B.C.

A B.C. Invasive Mussel Defence Program report from late April to Sept. 15 of this year shows that out of more than 50,000 inspections, 1,240 were considered high risk while 19 were found carrying invasive zebra or quagga mussels.

Fourteen of the 19 were entering B.C. from Ontario, two from Michigan, two from Utah and one from North Carolina. Eight were headed for the Lower Mainland, four for Vancouver Island, three to the Okanagan, two to the Kootenays, one to Skeena and one to Alaska.

The seasonal program ended in October and final numbers are expected soon.

According to B.C. Watercraft Inspection Stations, high risk includes:

• any watercraft or equipment that has been launched in any waters of a province or state known or suspected of having zebra or quagga mussels in the past 30 days.

• Any watercraft or equipment that is coming from or is registered to a state or province that is known or suspected of having zebra or quagga mussels and is not clean, and to the extent determined as practical by inspectors has not been drained and dried is considered high-risk, even if it has been out of the water for more than 30 days.

• Any watercraft that is dirty, crusty or slimy with the potential risk of transporting other aquatic invasive species.

Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society staff sampled 11 water bodies across the region for invasive mussels in summer 2019.

They sampled for adult mussels by installing substrate samplers, which are collections of different substrates on ropes lowered into the water and checked every two to four weeks. No sign of adult mussels were found on any of the 16 samplers deployed.

Staff also took 139 plankton samples from 27 locations on nine water bodies, searching for the larval stages of the mussels. So far all samples analyzed have been mussel free.

Sue Davies, head of the sampling project, said finding microscopic larvae of invasive mussels in a lake the size and shape of Shuswap Lake is challenging, but the more sites and more samples the better. She pointed out that Cinnemousun Narrows is an important place to sample because half of Shuswap Lake flows through the narrow strait and tends to eddy in one particular spot.

A Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society video demonstrates the impacts of invasive species.

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold finds it troubling that so many high-risk watercraft are entering the province.

He states that 80 per cent of the last federal budget went to two invasive species in the Great Lakes, while 20 per cent was for the rest of the program.

Arnold was a member of the standing committee on fisheries that compiled a report on aquatic invasive species. Eight of the nine recommendations were about preventing the introduction of the species.

Read more: Detective dog, from Nelson, joins fight to combat invasive mussels

Read more: Okanagan dock owners urged to monitor for invasive mussels

Read more: Invasive mussels campaign ramps up for May long weekend

“The cost of prevention is fractional compared to the cost of treatment. They’re proably a greater ecological threat to the province than a massive wildfire,” Arnold contends, pointing out that trees can be grown after a fire. The mussels, however, could wipe out the sockeye fry and related food chain, as well as clog water intake pipes completely.

Arnold is in favour of increasing the use of sniffer dogs trained to detect the mussels, as well as increasing signs at borders and having full-time staffing at check points at all points of entry.

“I’m going to work with my colleagues in the Okanagan to put pressure to recognize the risks and to resource the program properly,” Arnold said.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@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

 

Watercraft Inspection Stations can be found along the southern and eastern borders of B.C. (B.C. Government image)

Watercraft Inspection Stations can be found along the southern and eastern borders of B.C. (B.C. Government image)

Zebra mussels on a boat propeller. (Photo Creative Commons)

Zebra mussels on a boat propeller. (Photo Creative Commons)

Just Posted

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Port Alberni collect garbage in the Scotiabank parking lot on Saturday, April 17 as part of a Community Clean Up. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s community street clean-up a success

Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre plans ocean clean-up for April 24 and 25

Wounded Warriors runners run along Beaver Creek Road towards the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department hall. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s Wounded Warriors stage solo run

Vancouver Island-wide event was cancelled, but Maria Marciano and Dave Nesbitt ran anyway

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations celebrate legal victory in fishing dispute

Ha’oom Fisheries Society and T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries announce “major legal victory”

Winston Joseph, known as Mr. Positive Port Alberni, leads the 2019 Canada Day parade with his wife Sheila. Winston, who was integral in starting the July 1 folkfest, died April 11, 2021 at the age of 89. (PHOTO COURTESY SONJA DRINKWATER)
Community remembers Winston Joseph with Canada Day parade in April

‘Mr. Positive Port Alberni’ started Canada Day folk fest, lived a life of service and faith

Grade 5 Wood Elementary Students cycling on the powerline trail. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Wood School bicycles, equipment worth $8,000 stolen

Equipment was stored at Echo Fieldhouse in Port Alberni

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read