The propeller of a motorized boat encrusted with invasive mussels. Zebra and Quagga mussels can thrive in tiny crevices and even inside outboard motors, meaning very thorough cleaning is required to prevent their spread. (Contributed)

The propeller of a motorized boat encrusted with invasive mussels. Zebra and Quagga mussels can thrive in tiny crevices and even inside outboard motors, meaning very thorough cleaning is required to prevent their spread. (Contributed)

B.C. content with invasive mussels prevention measures

Environment minister responds to Okanagan Basin Water Board letter of concern

The provincial government is not further stepping up invasive mussel prevention efforts, despite pleas to do so by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB).

In response to a letter sent by Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff, chair of the OBWB, environment and climate change minister George Heyman stated the government continues to work with water management partners to mitigate the threat of zebra and quagga mussels reaching B.C. waterways.

Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heyman said the Invasive Mussel Defence Program had a successful 2020 season, performing 29,900 boat inspections.

Of the total watercraft inspected, 158 were identified as high-risk, and 16 were identified as transporting invasive mussels.

“The province continues to collaborate with jurisdictions across western Canada and the northwestern U.S. to implement a perimeter defence approach,” Heyman responded.

READ MORE: Zebra mussel-infested moth balls discovered in aquariums

READ MORE: Potentially harmful invasive clams found in Shuswap Lake

OBWB made several recommendations expressed in McKortoff’s letter to upgrade the mussel defensive effort, Heyman citing the idea of providing toolkits and resources to local governments to conduct vulnerability assessments and implement mitigation measures like retrofitting infrastructure as ‘an interesting one.’

“This has not been something that local governments have been asking for, individually or through UBCM,” Heyman noted.

Heyman said further, “this idea will be considered for the future but is not considered as an immediate priority.”

The minister also addressed the suggestion of ‘pull the plug’ legislation as being actively worked on, which would call for boat drain plug removal and draining of water by boat owners before leaving any lake or river in B.C., a move adopted by several U.S. jurisdictions.

Also called for was a boat sticker program implemented in some northwest U.S. states, which Heyman deflected as any boat registration authority falling under the auspices of the federal government.

“To date, the province has focused on the key entry points of watercraft coming into the province and optimizing the location and operations of inspection stations,” said Heyman.

Heyman also noted the province is engaged in updating the estimated economic impact if invasive mussels were introduced into B.C., including assessing costs to municipal/public water supply.

That report is expected to be completed this spring.

WaterWildlife

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read