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B.C. Interior flexing for out-of-province boat ban to block invasive mussels

Feds announce funding up to $540,000 until 2025 to aid with mussel defence efforts
The propeller 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. (File photo)

Business and community leaders in the B.C. Interior are pushing for an immediate temporary moratorium on out-of-province boats to help prevent invasive mussels from infesting B.C. waterways.

A letter, signed by several chambers of commerce and boards of trades throughout the Thompson-Okanagan, has been sent to the responsible provincial and federal ministers.

It asks for round-the-clock monitoring of boats being brought into B.C. across the Alberta and U.S. borders.

Invasive mussels have been recently detected in Idaho’s Snake River, just an 11-hour drive from B.C. The letter also asks the moratorium last at least until the results of water treatment in Idaho, to kill off the mussels, are assessed.

READ MORE: Mussel scare prompts Okanagan Water Board to call for out-of-province boat ban

“This scourge has already ruined many freshwater lakes and rivers in Canada, and is currently irreversible,” said Dan Price, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce board chair. “We have a good chance to stop it before it becomes established in our beautiful province.”

In late 2023, the federal government announced that it was planning to cut funding that supports invasive mussel inspections. But on Feb. 15, the Department of Fisheries, Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard announced funding up to $540,000 until 2025 for the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF).

A news release explains that the money will support ongoing work by the provincial government’s Invasive Mussel Defense Program (IMDP) to prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels in B.C.

The DFO will also invest $90,000 in two new decontamination trailers in B.C. that will educate the public on the importance of cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft before moving between bodies of water to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

READ MORE: Okanagan water board fears funding cuts to Invasive Mussel Program

READ MORE: Kelowna council making moves to ‘mussel’ out invasive water species

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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