What do sunburns, travel pictures and invasive species have in common? They are all things you could bring back from your summer vacation if you are not careful! Invasive aquatic plants and organisms can travel on boats, trailers, SUP’s, kayaks, fishing gear, and bait buckets. It is paramount that you thoroughly clean, drain, and dry your gear before moving from one body of water to another to avoid spreading invasive species.
Zebra and Quagga mussels are two species of particular concern in B.C. So far, invasive mussel species have yet to be identified in the area, but experts say it is more a question of “when” they will enter the region, rather than “whether” they will. Zebra and Quagga mussels pose serious threats to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities.
The best defense we currently have against invasive mussels is early detection, so monitoring lakes and inspecting watercrafts is critical to prevention. The B.C Conservation Officer Service has been involved in the inspection process since 2015 through the B.C Invasive Mussel Defence program. The program’s goal is to prevent the introduction of Zebra and Quagga mussels into B.C. The program’s prevention efforts are focused on inspecting boats, monitoring lakes, educating the public and coordinating actions with neighbouring jurisdictions.
What can you do?
The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC), a local environmental non-profit, encourages lake users to clean, drain, and dry all watercraft— no matter how small. You can learn more about what SSISC is doing to help prevent invasive mussels here.
- Clean: Inspect the boat, trailer and components for adult invasive mussels. Remove any mud and dirt. Pay attention to hard to reach areas, such as around the motor housing and water intake screens.
- Drain: Ensure the boat doesn’t contain any standing water, whether in cargo areas, pipes, water pumps, etc, as early mussel life forms can survive in standing water.
- Dry: Dry all areas of the boat that may have gotten wet.
You can learn more about how to clean, drain, and dry your watercraft here.
by Claude-Anne (Clo) Godbout-Gauthier, Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council