Help us keep Okanagan waters zebra and quagga mussel free!

You can help

If you know someone who boats, fishes and travels in and out of our valley with their boat or other water recreation equipment, ask what they’re doing to help prevent the spread. Make sure they follow the “Clean, Drain, Dry” protocol, and are stopping at watercraft inspection stations.

Prevent aquatically transmitted species

If you, or someone you know, takes watercraft south for the winter, or brings water toys from the East Coast 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 and dry your watercraft, and other water-related gear, to protect our lakes. If possible, avoid launching in more than one waterbody per day to allow the watercraft and gear to dry.

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 and dry all your recreational water toys and supplies and properly dispose of any aquarium plants and animals — never flush them!

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Clean. Drain. Dry. is now part of modern boating and watercraft etiquette 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.

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 (on dry land) 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.


Check these common hiding spots for 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.

Inspection stations & fines

There are 8 watercraft inspection stations in B.C. for 2023.

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. 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.

Spread the message, not the mussel.

Learn ways to help spread the message and download the kit.