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Inter-province communication helped stop boats from bringing invasive species into BC waters

ISCBC News Release, August 28, 2014: WILLIAMS LAKE — The Invasive Species Council of BC today applauded actions by Alberta and BC which ensured that boats being moved from Lake Ontario to Victoria last weekend were stopped and inspected for zebra mussels, proving that inter-province cooperation to prevent the spread of aquatic species is working.

“These actions show that the systems put in place to ensure there is communications between jurisdictions so we can have ‘perimeter protection’ is working,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “This inspection builds on the Clean, Drain, Dry practices that are vital for boaters. With education from ISCBC and other invasive species groups in BC, boaters are taught the importance of cleaning and draining their boats before moving to new bodies of water.”

On Saturday, August 23, the Alberta government intercepted a truck and trailer hauling 13 small sailing boats from Lake Ontario, and informed the BC Ministry of the Environment and ISCBC that these boats were on their way to the coast. The driver recognized the concern and cooperated with inspections, and continued on to Victoria where the boats were decontaminated yesterday afternoon by trained staff. This follows a case last March, when the United States informed BC about a boat coming over the border that had dead mussels on it, enabling that boat to be disinfected properly. 

ISCBC continues to call for mandatory boat inspection for high-risk boats from areas infested with invasive aquatic species such as zebra mussels, along with additional funding to enable mandatory boat inspections. ISCBC works closely with key partners to educate boaters about taking responsible actions, and ensure boats coming into local lakes are monitored and inspected before they enter the water. ISCBC offers training for conservation officers and others on proper boat inspection techniques, and works with governments and other organizations to create consistent  reporting and inspecting approaches and effective communications.

“ISCBC is a strong supporter of, and has even provided direction to the new proposed federal regulation prohibiting the import of invasive mussels across borders,” adds Wallin. “Whether regulatory or voluntary, all of us have a role to play in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.” 

ISCBC has been running its Clean, Drain Dry program for three years, aimed at 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 more than 2,800 boaters committing to cleaning, draining and drying boats and equipment before entering a new water body.

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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 and fund 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. 

Media contact:
Gail Wallin
gwallin@bcinvasives.ca
P: (250) 305-9161

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E-mail: info@bcinvasives.ca
Telephone: 250-305-1003 or 1-888-933-3722
Fax: 778-412-2248

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