Summer student

Efforts in place to monitor mussels

Invasive mussels are not yet present in Okanagan lakes and efforts are being made to keep them away.

Invasive mussels are not yet present in Okanagan lakes and efforts are being made to keep them away.

The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society has been working with organizations in the area to keep zebra mussels and quagga mussels out of the region.

These European mussels are not believed to occur in the province, but they could be transported here from infested lakes in the United States and the Great Lakes region in Canada.

The mussels were introduced to North America in the late 1980s.

At present, there are no mandatory checkpoint stations in the province.

Checkpoints are required in western states in the U.S.

“It would only take one boat infested with mussels to enter a lake in B.C. and there would be no turning back,” said biologist Lisa Scott, coordinator of OASISS.

“We are trying to encourage everyone to take responsibility to help prevent invasive mussels from entering our waters.”

Zebra mussels and quagga mussels are thumbnail-sized freshwater mollusks.

They colonize on hard surfaces and can clog water intake structures, affect recreation and devastate fisheries.

The direct costs are estimated at more than $45 million a year if the mussels were to be found in Okanagan Lake, Scott said.

The society is working with yacht clubs, marinas and other organizations to set up monitoring stations at area lakes.

The stations consist of a series of small sections of PVC pipe and mesh attached to the rope.

They are dropped to a depth of eight metres.

The stations provide an artificial surface for the invasive mussels.

A sensor is also attached to record temperature and light.

Members of OASISS and partner organizations will monitor the surfaces until late September.

The monitoring will then begin in May.

“We are highly optimistic that we won’t find anything, however it’s important we monitor to be sure the mussels have not arrived,” said Scott.

For more information on European mussels and other invasive species, go to www.oasiss.ca.

The aquatic invaders program is financially supported through the Canada Summer Jobs program and a $30,000 grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

“We are pleased to provide funds to OASISS for this very important project. It’s been complementary to our Don’t Move a Mussel campaign, which is aimed at educating Okanagan residents and visitors to the risks these invasive mussels present,” said Anna Warwick Sears, the water board’s executive director.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Poll: Should Penticton allow drinks on the beach?

Legally drinking in some Penticton parks and beaches could become a reality as early as June 5

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

Summerland to reopen playgrounds and recreational facilities

Some outdoor spaces will reopen on June 1, but arena and aquatic centre remain closed

Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1

After nearly two months closure, playgrounds are set to reopen

LETTER: Summerland solar project should be reviewed

Questions raised about feasibility of proposed power project

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Drunk man on a dirt bike and prohibited drivers without insurance keep Shuswap RCMP busy

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Most Read