For Immediate Release
BC Invasive Species Council applauds British Columbia Government for taking actions on invasive mussels
(March 31, 2015 – Williams Lake) The BC Invasive Species Council applauds the Province of British Columbia for its announcement today that BC is expanding its actions to prevent invasive mussels from entering the province’s waters.
“British Columbia’s commitment to expanding monitoring and education to prevent zebra and quagga mussels will go a long way to keeping these invasive aquatic species from harming our local waters,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “ISCBC and our partners have been working for several years to educate boaters and the public about the need to Clean, Drain, and Dry their boats to prevent the spread of aquatic invasives, and we’re pleased to have the Province contribute additional resources.”
The Province today announced a $1.3 million boost toward early detection and rapid response against invasive mussels. This will create on-the-ground protection with mobile decontamination units, trained conservation officers, additional highway signage throughout BC, expanded monitoring and increasing education and outreach activities through the Clean, Drain, Dry program.
For more than three years, ISCBC has been involved within BC and in partnership with surrounding jurisdictions in working with boaters and key organizations to prevent the import of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species. ISCBC has been running the Clean, Drain Dry program, aimed at educating boaters to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Clean, Drain, Dry encourages responsible boater behaviours and was run in 33 communities last year with boaters committing to cleaning, draining and drying boats and equipment before entering a new water body.
“British Columbia is being responsible and proactive in working to keep invasive mussels from our waters, and we’re pleased that Alberta and the federal government will soon have strong regulations in place, which are vital to protect our borders”. added Wallin. “Invasive species travel easily across borders, so continued corporation between provinces and states, as well as strong federal initiatives, are needed to ensure invasive mussels are stopped.”
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a significant threat to BC’s and Canada’s freshwater ecosystems. Originating from Europe, these mussels threaten `species and fisheries in lakes and rivers. The economic impact of these invasive mussels to hydropower, agricultural irrigation, municipal water supplies and recreational boating has been estimated to be more than $43 million per year. Invasive mussels can colonize on boats and other watercraft (on hulls, engines and steering components), as well as on recreational equipment. They clog water intake pipes, leading to increased maintenance costs for hydroelectric, domestic water, industrial, agricultural and recreational facilities.
“The level of government partnership across ministries – forests, environment, transportation, agriculture – and with BC Hydro and others is leading the way in Canada to protect against the threats of mussels to our important fish stocks and other economic impacts,” said Wallin. “This model of cooperation, along with growing partnerships with local and aboriginal governments is key to success.”
About the Invasive Species Council of BC
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social, and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca.
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