Zebra and quagga mussels put several of the assets we treasure most as residents of the Okanagan at risk. Knowing what those risks are and how to prevent them will help maintain the beauty and unique character of our valley.
OUR WATER QUALITY IS AT RISK
The Okanagan is home to some of the best water in the world. Clean, safe drinking water is priceless. Invasive mussels promote toxic algae which would pollute our drinking water. They also clog drinking water intakes and distribution systems, costing millions of tax dollars to clean them out of pipes or retrofit systems.
OUR BEACHES ARE AT RISK
Invasive mussels can ruin beaches. Razor-sharp shells on shore will make the sand un-walkable in bare feet. Where dead mussels are washed up along the shoreline, they can create foul-smelling piles, significantly altering our famous playground.
OUR FISH ARE AT RISK
The fish of this valley have always been an important food source to the Okanagan First Nations people. Today, the fish draw anglers from around the world. Our fish are not only a source of food, they are an integral part of maintaining a healthy freshwater ecosystem. Invasive mussels would devastate native salmon.
OUR LAKES’ ECOLOGY IS AT RISK
The Okanagan is recognized as unique in the world. It is valued for its high biodiversity, but is also home to some of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada. Invasive mussels will outcompete native species. In addition, they help promote toxic algae blooms, which cause fish and bird kills and contaminate lake water.
OUR PROPERTY VALUE IS AT RISK
The potential annual loss to waterfront real estate value alone is estimated at $10 million. This accounts for impact to selling costs and maintenance costs (e.g. cleaning shells from beachfront property).
OUR TOURISM IS AT RISK
Invasive mussels foul water intakes – public and private – used to pump water to farms and drinking water treatment plants. This affects orchards, industry, hotels, restaurants and other businesses – basically everyone. We all rely on water.
OUR ECONOMY IS AT RISK
When zebra and/or quagga mussels invade waters they clog power-plants and public-water intakes and pipes. Routine treatment is necessary and very expensive.. This leads to increased utility bills and can lead to higher taxes to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Clean off all plants, animals and mud from your watercraft and related equipment (e.g. boots, waders, fishing gear). If a power washing station is available, use it.
Drain (on dry land) any item that can hold water (e.g. buckets, wells, bilge and ballast).
Dry all items completely before launching your watercraft into another body of water.
Check these common hiding spots for invasive species
3) Bait Bucket
4) Dock lines
10) Live wells
Shuswap Watershed Council & Okanagan Water Board pen joint letter to new Fisheries Minister
Okanagan Water Board Renews Call for Stronger Invasive Mussel Regulations in B.C.
Invasive mussels Fisheries minister asked to do more to protect Shuswap Okanagan lakes
Watershed Council Basin Board pen letter on invasive mussels