FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 31, 2016, Williams Lake, BC—The Invasive Species Council of BC is applauding the BC Government’s announcement yesterday of increased funding for the invasive mussel defence program and permanent boat inspection stations at major entry points along BC’s borders.
“The Invasive Species Council of BC has been working for more than six years to bring more partners together in preventing invasive mussels from infecting BC waters, and we welcome the new funding and partners to increase protection at our borders against these damaging invasive species,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “These boat inspections will enhance our work in education and awareness through the Clean, Drain, Dry program. There is a role for all of us who use our waters to make sure our equipment and boats are clean before going to other lakes or streams to keep BC free of invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels.”
With support from BC Hydro, FortisBC, Columbia Power and the Columbia Basin Trust, Premier Christy Clark announced new funding for eight permanent mussel inspection stations to be located along the BC-Alberta border and the border with the United States. The program also includes increased opportunities to expand the current Clean, Drain Dry program through innovative education activities.
“These same partners, along with the Provincial Government, have also helped build the Western Canada Invasive Mussel Prevention Plan, establishing consistent approaches with BC’s neighbours,” adds Wallin. “With these key partners and many more across BC, the Invasive Species Council of BC is ready for the 2016 outdoor season with resources and programs to stop the transport of invasive species, especially aquatic species.”
Aquatic invasive species such as mussels are non-native species, including plants, animals and molluscs, which have the potential to harm the environment, economy and society. There are approximately 133 different aquatic invasive species in British Columbia, many of which continue to spread causing serious damage, such as clogging waterways, reducing habitat, outcompeting native fish and wildlife populations, and impacting recreation, fishing and swimming.
Invasive mussels attach to boats and trailers and can be spread long distances over land while attached, as well as in ballast water. If zebra and quagga mussels were introduced into BC waters, it would cost about $43 million per year in damages to infrastructure, hydropower facilities, water extraction activities and recreational boaters, besides having significant impacts on native fish stocks.
ISCBC continues to lead the Clean Drain Dry program, which educates boaters on what they need to do before entering or leaving a body of water.
If you see or suspect a boat that has come into BC could be contaminated, do not attempt to clean it as special training is needed. Contact the BC Conservation Officer Service (RAPP) at 1-877-952-7277.
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.
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P: (250) 305-9161
See Provincial News Release
Boat inspection stations will be located in: