Invasive mussels have encrusted this boat hull. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society)

Okanagan Basin Water Board continues call to protect B.C. waters from invasive mussels

The board is pushing for additional regulations from the government

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is continuing the fight against invasive mussels and is looking for more help from the provincial government.

In the most recent numbers from the OBWB, there were 384 high-risk watercraft that were intercepted coming into B.C. in between April 1 and July 5, and 35 of those were issued decontamination orders. Ten of those 35 were found to be carrying invasive mussels, with two of those were originally heading into the Okanagan.

Okanagan Basin Water Board chair Sue McKortoff said that more is needed to ensure the protection of B.C. waters.

“Until we know we are in the clear and there is no chance of invasive mussels making their way into our waters, we are going to be pushing for senior government to do all they can to protect our waters,” McKortoff said.

“Our lakes are not only an important tourist destination, they are important as a source of drinking water, to our fishery and the Okanagan’s delicate ecosystem, and much more.”

READ MORE: K9 officer joins fight against invasive mussels in Okanagan lakes

READ MORE: RCMP conducting boat pre-checks on Okanagan Lake

In particular, the OBWB is repeating its call for legislation requiring that all watercraft entering B.C. be inspected before being allowed to launch in provincial waters. They recommend the province implement “pull the plug,” legislation already implemented in Alberta and in Northwest states, requiring drain plugs be removed from watercraft before transport.

The board also recommends renewing a public-private partnership between the province and several partners including BC Hydro, FortisBC and others which has helped fund the inspection program and expires in early 2021. And finally, the OBWB is calling for the province to increase the program’s funding to at least 2017 levels of $4.45 million to expand and strengthen the program.

Protecting B.C. waters are 64 inspectors, three full-status Conservation Officers and two service dogs that help sniff out invasive mussels.

“But we only have one of 12 provincial inspection stations that are open 24-hours a day and there is no requirement to get an inspection when a station is closed. We need to tighten things up,” McKortoff said.

READ MORE: Lake Country orchard left rigid after worst season in 11 years

The OBWB estimates that a mussel infestation would cost the Okanagan at least $42 million a year to manage, and since inspections stations were introduced in 2015, research suggests that the stations have saved more than $168 million in the Okanagan.

More information on invasive mussels and the risk to the Okanagan can be found at dontmoveamussel.ca.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

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

Just Posted

Keremeos winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Chute Lake Lodge opens June 1, offering glamping, yurt, and ebike rentals

Escape into the wilderness and #lovelocalpenticton when Chute Lake Lodge reopens for the season

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Shuswap man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Salmon Arm resident apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read