6,100 boats inspected as B.C. leads the fight against invasive mussels
British Columbia remains free of invasive mussels, thanks to ongoing efforts that have seen more than 6,100 watercraft inspected so far this year – already surpassing the number of inspections in all of 2015.
Through the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, a crew of 32 trained mussel inspectors are working seven days a week, 10 hours a day, at eight permanent inspection stations along B.C. borders to prevent the spread of invasive mussels.
The stations in the Columbia Basin are located near the communities of Golden, Radium, Sparwood, Castlegar and Valemount.
Of the watercraft inspected this year, 240 were identified as coming from a high-risk jurisdiction and eight were confirmed to be carrying adult invasive mussels. A total of 45 decontamination orders were issued, of which 35 had quarantine periods to meet the 30-day required drying time.
“The province continues to remain free of zebra and quagga mussels, thanks to ongoing efforts of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program,” said Minister of Environment Mary Polak.
“Through co-ordination, prevention and education, we are helping to ensure the health and safety of B.C.’s freshwater lakes and rivers.”
In June 2016, B.C. signed the Western Canada Invasive Species Agreement, partnering with Alberta, Yukon, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in a co-ordinated regional defence against invasive quagga and zebra mussels.
Outreach activities are continuing in communities throughout the province. To date, inspection crews have interacted with more than 10,000 people to promote the message of “Clean, Drain, Dry,” and educate the public about aquatic invasive species.
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.
B.C. remains free of invasive quagga and zebra mussels. To keep it that way, remember to practice “Clean, Drain, Dry” when boating in B.C.
The public is encouraged to report mussel-affected boats and equipment to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277.