The B.C Invasive Mussel Defence program’s goal is to prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels into B.C. The program’s prevention efforts are focused on inspecting boats, monitoring lakes, educating the public and coordinating actions with neighbouring jurisdictions.
Quagga mussels and zebra mussels are not native to North America and pose a serious threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities.
Early Detection Lake Monitoring
Invasive Mussels have not arrived in BC yet, however the number of boats arriving from mussel infested provinces and states in other parts of North America, is cause for concern. Monitoring is critical for early detection of new invasive species incursions in B.C. and is an important first step in the Provincial Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) plan.
The project involves monitoring 7 lakes in the region for evidence of invasive mussels. The lakes we are monitoring in 2018 include Green Lake, Lillooet Lake, Birkenhead Lake, Gates Lake, Anderson Lake, Alta Lake and Lost Lake.
Monitoring is carried out in two ways:
- Water sampling (using a plantkon net)
- Installation and checking of a substrate sampler
If evidence of mussels is found, then the steps outlined in the Zebra and Quagga Mussel Early Detection and Rapid Response Plan would be followed.
BC Watercraft Inspection Stations
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has a team of specialized inspectors checking and if necessary decontaminating watercraft being transported into B.C. More information, including a map of inspection stations can be found here.
If you are transporting a watercraft in B.C. it is a mandatory to stop and report to all invasive mussel watercraft inspection stations along your travel route. Watercraft includes sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards being transported in B.C.
How Can You Help?
Invasive Mussels and other aquatic invasive species can hitch a ride on watercraft (including motorised boats, kayaks, canoes, and SUPs), trailers and recreational equipment like waders and fishing gear.
YOU CAN HELP keep Sea to Sky lakes free of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasives, by adequately cleaning your watercraft, trailers and equipment when moving from waterbody to waterbody.
Follow these steps to CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY:
More information about Zebra and Quagga mussels, and how to help prevent them from establishing in BC can be found here.
To learn more about aquatic invasive species threatening BC ecosystems, you can refer to this factsheet.