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.
YOUR WATER QUALITY IS AT RISK
Some of the best water in the world is in the Okanagan. Invasive mussels can ruin it all. When they move in, mussels carry toxic algae that pollute our drinking water. Mussels also clog water intakes and distribution systems. Cleaning out pipes and retrofitting systems will cost taxpayers millions. Protecting our water protects our economy.
YOUR BEACH DAYS ARE AT RISK
Invasive mussels ruin beaches. Razor-sharp shells stick out of the sand like tiny knives. No more bare feet. And then there’s the smell. As dead mussels wash up in piles on the shore, their putrid, gag-inducing smell ends any chance of a beautiful beach day.
FISH ARE AT RISK
Invasive mussels would decimate native salmon, and the negative effects would ripple through the valley. The syilx (Okanagan) people would lose a vital food source. Angler tourism could dry up. Fish also help us maintain a healthy freshwater ecosystem. This is one threat we can’t risk entering our waters.
OUR FRAGILE ECOLOGY IS AT RISK
The Okanagan is unique. It’s rich in biodiversity, and home to some of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada. Invasive mussels will out compete and destroy native species. They spread toxic algae blooms that kill fish and birds while contaminating the lake.
THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME IS AT RISK
We estimate the loss of value to waterfront real estate to be at $10 million. Minimum. Property owners will pay more to sell and maintain their homes. Time spent enjoying the water will change to time spent cleaning shells from water intakes, docks, watercraft, beaches, and more.
TOURISM IS AT RISK
We all rely on water. Invasive mussels severely impact intakes used to pump water to farms and treatment plants. Then the problem flows to tourism, affecting orchards, hotels, restaurants and, well, everyone. Plus, nobody wants to go to a stinky beach with shells that cut their feet.
OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY IS AT RISK
Mussels invade waters. Then they clog water intakes, pipes, and other water-related infrastructure. The costs of water treatment skyrocket. Your utility bills could increase. You could see higher taxes to pay for infrastructure upgrades. The risks compound with less money coming in through tourism, and more money going into treatment. Our entire economy will become severely burdened.
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
Invasive mussels can hitchhike on any surface it comes in contact with. All water recreation equipment should be checked, including kayaks, paddleboards and fishing gear.
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