The propellor 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. (photo contributed)

Regional district wants more done to prevent quagga mussel spread

Directors to request federal review of spending on aquatic invasive species initiatives

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board is continuing to support measures to protect lakes in the area from the spread of invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

At the Dec. 7 regular board meeting, directors voted unanimously to support Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold’s request to send a letter to the Federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Canada outlining support for a study to examine funding for programs dedicated to preventing and eliminating aquatic invasive species.

It also asks for an examination of whether federal funds for these types of programs are distributed in an equitable way around the country.

Related: No zebra or quagga mussels found in Columbia Shuswap

Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok says currently 80 per cent of the federal funding to fight aquatic invasive species is spent in the Great Lakes area.

“I think this is a terrific idea, we need to keep the pressure on,” he said of the letter. “It is a very timely issue.”

Western provinces are currently free of invasive mussels; however, an infestation can happen rapidly should these mussels ever be introduced to local lakes. Mussels can be transported on boats from one water body to another, spreading the infestation. These mussels have no natural predators and can dramatically alter the ecosystem.

The Shuswap Watershed Council notes the potential economic impact of aquatic invasive mussels to B.C. is estimated at $43 million in annual maintenance and remediation costs.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

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