Imagine if we all woke up tomorrow and the forests of B.C. had been killed off and turned into a vast desert.
That’s what a Vernon filmmaker says could happen to our lakes and rivers in a heart-beat should the invasive zebra and quagga mussels arrive in B.C. and infest our waterways.
Brynne Morrice, an actor and filmmaker who lives partly in New York and partly in Vernon, has released a six-minute documentary called Mussel Threat, spotlighting the potential dangers of the invasive mussels on B.C. water systems.
The $5,000 project was funded through a kickstarter campaign and released Wednesday.
“These mussels, when they get into a lake or river, they basically turn it into an aquatic desert,” said Morrice.
“If tomorrow we woke up in B.C. and all of our beautiful green, lush forests had turned into deserts, that would be a pretty catastrophic change to our province. You have to think of these mussels like that. They turn the water into aquatic deserts. There is nothing left except these mussels. The communities that have experienced this…there is no going back. We would be facing a new status quo that we would never heal from and B.C. would be a far less wonderful place to live and a far less wonderful place to visit.”
For the past six months, Morrice, 30, travelled to areas of North America that have suffered from an infestation of zebra and quagga mussels.
The mussels have been found in the Great Lakes, in North Dakota and as close as Nevada, just a day and a half drive to the B.C. border. They can survive outside of water for 10 days or in wet carpet or the bilge area of a boat for up to 30 days. It wouldn’t take much for a boat to pass through the border, into B.C. and zebra and quagga mussels would be infesting a local lake and devastating the ecosystem, killing off native species.
In fact it’s nearly happened already. In 2012 a boat launched into Shuswap Lake with a quagga mussel attached to it.
Luckily it was dead and did not infest the lake. Then last March a boat infected by the mussels was stopped at a border crossing at Osoyoos, heading for B.C. waters.
“People who really understand, who really get this, are up in arms,” said Morrice, a W.L. Seaton Secondary graduate.
“This is a major issue. This is going to affect the entire province in a profound way. Our communities in B.C. are built on lakes and rivers and this could be devastating if we had an infestation.”
To see the video, go to https://vimeo.com/125057151