Help us keep Okanagan waters zebra and quagga mussel free!

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Zebra Quagga Mussels to B.C.

Don’t have a boat? You can still help prevent invasive mussels

If someone you know boats, fishes, and/or travels in and out of the Okanagan valley with their boat or other water recreation equipment, ask what they’re doing to help prevent the spread. Follow the “Clean, Drain, Dry” protocol, and stop at all watercraft inspection stations along the route.

Have the Talk

Prevent aquatically transmitted species

If you, or someone you know, takes watercraft south for the winter, or brings water toys from Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec or the United States as part of your Okanagan vacation plans, get informed and Don’t Move A Mussel!

When bringing your watercraft (e.g. regular and inflatable boats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards) into the Okanagan, be sure to stop at all watercraft inspection stations along your route. And, when leaving a waterbody, make sure to Clean, Drain Dry your watercraft, and other water-related gear, to protect our lakes.

All mud, sand and plant materials should be removed from boats before leaving the shore. Operators should also allow a minimum of 24 hours drying time for watercraft and/or equipment before entering new waters.

Lastly, live zebra mussels have been found in moss (Marimo) balls that were imported from Ukraine into North America. Moss balls are commonly sold in pet and garden stores.

Never release aquarium pets, water garden plants or water into any waterbody. Instead, destroy the moss balls by placing them in boiling water for at least 1 minute and then letting them cool before disposing of them in your household garbage. Or, place them in a plastic bag, zip closed and freeze for at least 24 hours, then dispose in the garbage.

It wouldn’t take long for the mussels to get established once they arrive. Each female can produce about 1 million eggs per year. And in some areas with warm waters, like Lake Mead, there have been six to eight reproductive cycles a year.

The mussels can be spread unknowingly by boaters, fishers and other well-meaning nature lovers. At their youngest stage, the invasive mussels are the size of a grain of sand. At their largest they are the size of your thumbnail (1.5 to 2 cm). They are often brought in on boats and other recreational water toys (e.g. kayaks). But they can also come in on hip waders, fishing tackle boxes, life jackets and other objects that have spent time in infested waters.

Clean, Drain, Dry all your recreational water toys and supplies and properly dispose of any aquarium plants and animals — never flush them!

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Zebra Quagga Mussels to B.C. and the Okanagan

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Clean. Drain. Dry. is now part of modern boating and watercraft responsibilities in Canada and the U.S. It has also been adopted as a best practice by B.C. and several other provinces and U.S. states to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. It’s what anyone should do with their water recreation equipment whenever traveling from one lake, river or stream to another, even if it’s a paddle board or just wading boots that have gotten wet.

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Zebra Quagga Mussels to B.C.

Prevent Invasive Mussels and Other Species – Here’s how it works

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 (once on dry land) from any item that can hold water (e.g. buckets, wells, bilge and ballast).
Dry all items completely before launching the watercraft into another body of water.

Pull the Plug – It’s the Law

Not only is pulling the plug an important step of Clean, Drain, Dry, it is now law in B.C. to do so!!

 “Beginning May 17, 2024, boat operators in British Columbia are required to pull the plug before moving a boat or any equipment between water bodies.”

Before transporting a boat or other watercraft, owners/operators must remove the drain plug and drain all water on dry land, including all internal compartments, such as ballasts, bilges and live wells.

Read more from the B.C. province here.

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Zebra Quagga Mussels to B.C.


Check these common hiding spots for invasive mussels and other invasive species

1) Prop
2) Anchor
3) Bait Bucket
4) Dock lines
5) Hull
6) Rollers
7) Trailer
8) Bunks
9) Axel
10) Live wells
11) Bilge
12) Motor
13) Ballast

Bringing a boat to B.C.

Planning to bring in watercraft from out-of-province? Contact the Provincial Program at to determine if your boat is HIGH-RISK and should be decontaminated for possible zebra or quagga mussels before accessing B.C.’s lakes and rivers. It’s free!

Do not launch the boat into any B.C. waters until you have received instruction from a B.C. Provincial Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector.



Invasive Mussel Inspection Stations in B.C.

There are 8 watercraft inspection stations in B.C. for 2024.

If you are transporting any type of watercraft in B.C. (boat, kayak, paddleboard, etc.) it is mandatory to stop and report to all provincial invasive mussel watercraft inspection stations along your travel route.

Invasive Mussel Fines

Failing to stop at a B.C. inspection station can result in a $345 fine.

If you are hauling watercraft outside of inspection hours, call the 1-800 inspection hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

Learn more about B.C.’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program in this video. 

Additional penalties

In addition to a $345 fine for failure to stop at an open B.C. inspection station, those hauling watercraft can face the following:

In B.C.

Allowing an aquatic invasive species (AIS) to escape for a first time offender:
• fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000; or
• a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years;
• or both a fine and a sentence.

Failing to comply with an officer’s order to remove mussels from watercraft and equipment for a first time offender:
• fines up to a maximum of $100,000; or
• a term of imprisonment of one year;
• or both a fine and a sentence.

Possessing, failing to prevent AIS from breeding, shipping or transporting or failing to safely dispose of waters used to clean or remove mussels for a first time offender:
• fines up to a maximum of $50,000; or
• a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months;
• or both a fine and a sentence.

In Canada

Importing, possessing, transporting, releasing or engaging in an activity that may release AIS is prohibited and subject to fines upwards of $100,000 under the Federal Fisheries Act.

Conservation Officer 24-hr hotline
2024 Invasive Mussel Watercraft Inspection Stations
Prevent the Spread of Invasive Zebra Quagga Mussels to B.C.

Spread the message, not the mussel.

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