Letter: Government is working to stop spread of invasive mussels

BC Ministry of Environment defends government's record on halting spread of invasive aquatic mussels.

Editor,

Re: We must press the government to do more to stop invasive species, by MLA Norm Macdonald

Mr. Macdonald is right to remind readers – particularly the travelling public – that invasive quagga and zebra mussels pose a serious risk to B.C.’s waterways.

Thankfully, our government is well aware of the risk. That’s why we began monitoring for the presence of invasive mussels in B.C. in 2011, launched the Invasive Mussel Defence program in 2015, and further expanded the program earlier this year with a $2 million funding boost, thanks to our funding partners including BC Hydro, Columbia Power, FortisBC and the Columbia Basin Trust.

At major entry points along B.C.’s border, there are now eight permanent watercraft inspection stations, where 32 trained officers are inspecting and, as necessary, decontaminating watercraft seven days a week throughout the boating season.

Additionally, teams respond to boats identified as a concern by the Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as Canadian and U.S. partner agencies.

Our expanded program also includes “Clean, Drain, Dry” education and outreach activities—because the public also plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of invasive mussels.

Together, we can all work to help keep our province mussels-free.

David Karn,

BC Ministry of Environment