A mussel-infested boat intercepted at a roadside inspection station in 2015 in Alberta shows the ability of the mussels to form dense layers on hard surfaces of watercraft.

Invasive mussels found on 15 boats entering B.C.

Five of the boats were headed to the Okanagan but were stopped and quarantined, says the province.

The province has dodged a bullet—15 bullets, actually.

Tracey Gray, chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, said 15 boats entering the province were found to have adult invasive mussels attached to them, since April.

The boats—seven from Ontario, two from Texas, and one each from Quebec, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and New York—were among 117 quarantined over the last four months to meet the province’s required 30-day “drying time” to ensure the mussels were dead.

Gray said a total of 19,900 boats have been inspected on B.C.’s southern and eastern borders since April, when the province increased its number of inspection stations and their hours of operation.

“But these numbers are very concerning,” said Gray, who is also a Kelowna city councillor, after a Monday meeting.

She said there are still questions about the boats that were discovered with mussels onboard, but so far the province has only released the numbers, where the boats were from and where they were headed in B.C. It’s not clear where each crossed into B.C., or their points in between.

Five of the the boats were destined for the Okanagan, six for the Lower Mainland, and one each for the Kootenays, the Thompson-Nicola area, Vancouver Island and Alaska.

Currently, only the inspection station at Golden, near the B.C.-Alberta border is open 24-hours per day.

According to Victoria, of the 19,800 boats coming into the province that were checked between April and the end of July , 1,100 were identified as “high-risk,” and of those, 166 were issued decontamination orders.

Gray said with the potential for devastation to B.C. lakes and waterways so great from even one contaminated boat or water vessel getting through undetected, it’s crucial any gaps in the current inspection system be filled quickly.

The OBWB has estimated that the cost to local governments could be as high was $43 million per year if mussels were to get into Okanagan Lake. That does not take into account damage to private property or the long-term affect on the area’s tourism industry, due to lost beach traffic.

As part of multi-pronged approach—including public education— the water board has to fight the introduction of invasive mussels into B.C., owners of boats, other water craft and even angling equipment are urged to wash their vessels and equipment, drain boat bilges and thoroughly dry all equipment every time they come out of the water.

Just Posted

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

Vees lose 4-2 to Wenatchee

The Vees face the Wild again Wednesday, on home ice

Search continues after human remains located

The search of the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road enters its fourth day

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read