Water board stepping up pressure in fight to keep mussels out

Lobby efforts to increase inspection stations continues from OBWB

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is strengthening its case against invasive mussels.

Last week directors upgraded their position on zebra and quagga mussels and the potential risk the species poses to Okanagan waterways.

“We are trying to put pressure on the provincial government to do more and have five inspection stations,” said director Juliette Cunningham.

“There is a cost if we don’t stop them (mussels) from arriving here.”

It’s believed the annual impact to government, businesses and residents could be more than $43 million if the mussels take hold in local lakes.

“This scenario has played out across watersheds throughout North America, where ecosystems and local economies have been drastically altered by these invaders,” states OBWB’s position statement.

Zebra and quagga mussels are native to eastern Europe and they have spread across North America since the 1980s.

They clog water intake pipes, pumps and boat motors. They also deplete food sources for fish and produce toxins that kill fish and birds and contaminate drinking water.

As part of the changes to the position statement, the board is calling on the provincial government to fund permanent, mandatory inspection stations for boats at the five major crossings between B.C. and Alberta.

In March, Victoria announced three mobile stations.

“OBWB strongly urges the provincial government to consider the cost to the province and local governments for the long-term treatment, mitigation or control of zebra or quagga mussels if the province fails to enact appropriate prevention measures and consequently the species are introduced,”  says the position statement.

“We call on the province to commit to funding all treatment and containment programs in infested waters should an invasion occur.”

While the government may be concerned about the cost of running monitoring stations, Cunningham says the budget could come from a boater-pay sticker program, similar to those in the U.S.

“Those with watercraft pay and it seems effective. I’m not sure why the province is reluctant to look at that,” she said.

OBWB also wants water utilities to review what upgrades and maintenance measures will be needed if the mussels arrive and ways to prevent service interruptions.

Just Posted

District of Lake Country gets design overhaul

The new website will be launched Jan. 29

Kelowna marketing company excited to be nominated for award

Twirling Umbrellas has been nominated for the second time for the Small Business BC Awards

One fatality in Highway 97 collision in Vernon

Two vehicles involved in crash that has halted traffic

Lake Country rescue held for couple stuck in snow

The couple was taking late night photos when their vehicle became stuck

Kelowna finalists announced for small business awards

The 15th annual Small Business BC Awards will be held Feb. 23

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Thunderbirds ground Rockets

A week after a 6-2 win in Kent, WA, the Rockets fall to Seattle Friday in WHL action

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read