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

A pickleball debacle unfolds in Lake Country

Pickleball players and frustrated residents discuss the sport court

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Kelowna man found guilty of second-degree murder awaits sentencing

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder in June

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Trial delayed for West Kelowna man charged with murdering his wife

Kevin Costin’s trial is on hold until the Crown and defence work out a few kinks

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Backhoe ‘burned to a crisp’ in South Okanagan

South Okanagan fire chief said the situation could have been a lot worse

Air ambulance called to second collision on Highway 1 west of Salmon Arm

Emergency crews respond to motor-vehicle collision near Second Nations Road intersection

Crash closes Highway 1 near Tappen

The collision happened about 3:30 p.m. by James Road

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Controversial anti-abortion film to be screened in the South Okanagan

Unplanned will be shown at the Penticton Landmark theatre

Okanagan-based pop star Andrew Allen is back with a new band

Singer-songwriter Andrew Allen is bringing his new band home for a concert this Friday

Most Read