Invasive mussels on a boat prop. Photo: Capital News files

Tightening the defense against invasive mussels

Potential added scrutiny for Okanagan boating events

It began from a conversation Toni Clark engaged in with a biologist at a recreation volleyball game in Kelowna.

What evolved was Clark realizing there was a potential breach in the efforts to prevent zebra and quagga mussel invasive species from gaining a foothold in Okanagan Lake and other local waterways.

“We just started chatting and he told me he was a biologist, and I told him I was doing this event that could bring people and boats here from across Canada, and I asked what we could do to educate people about our lake. And he said we should educate people about the mussels issue,” Clark recalled.

That concern hadn’t occurred to Clark, so she contacted the Okanagan Basin Water Board office, and her questions in turn gave pause to the OBWB staff to the reality that local lake boating events raise the potential for vessels from outside the province slipping through the mussel inspection station cracks.

Related: Invasive mussel warnings unheeded

The event Clark was helping organize at the time was the Melges national sailing championships, hosted by Kelowna two years ago.

Clark said there was some reluctance among the organizing committee to deal with the inconvenience to ensure boats from outside the province were inspected and mussel decontaminated, with a concern some boat owners would choose not to travel here because of the hassle. Better, the theory went, to let boat owners address that issue on their own.

“But after contacting the water board office, we found out the process could be pretty streamlined in terms of how you alert participants during the registration process, and we found the out-of-province boat owners were 100 per cent understanding about it,” Clark recalled.

“They get it because in many cases lakes where they were coming from already were already infested with mussels, so they knew first-hand what we were trying to prevent. The idea that people would be put off by a mussel inspection notice turned out to be completely false.”

Clark went through the process a second time last summer in helping organize a sailing championship event for disabled sailors, where specially outfitted boats were brought in from across Canada.

Since Clark’s initial inquiries two years ago, the water board has developed protocols to assist groups putting on boating events on local lakes, provides education kiosks at those events to help the public education process about the destructive potential of mussels reaching our waters and worked with provincial authorities for on-site boat inspection and decontamination services.

“It is a seamless process to deal with and it’s about protecting our lake,” Clark noted.

Clark, now retired but who volunteers her time to help stage community events, said a fishing derby tends to generally be less of a concern because it’s mostly local anglers who take part.

But an upcoming derby planned for Osoyoos Lake did generate some discussion at last week’s water board meeting in Penticton, out of concern that American anglers taking part could take part and bypass the nearby border inspection station because the lake crosses the U.S.-Canada boundary.

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


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Oliver wildfire extinguished, B.C. Wildfire mopping up

6-ha. brush fire contained before it could spread farther

Summer solstice celebration

The Okanagan’s Largest Summer Solstice celebration is planned for June 21 in Penticton

Farmers’ market temporarily on the move

The Penticton Farmers’ Market is moving temporarily moving on June 23

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

Penticton and Summerland take majority of business awards

9 winners from Penticton and Summerland at Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Most Read