Eurasian water-milfoil. (Contributed - Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters)

Greater Vernon Chamber calls for ongoing milfoil control

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has begun voicing concern that federal and provincial policies regarding milfoil control will negatively impact our community and economy.

The chamber recently wrote the federal and provincial governments and urged them to permit the control of invasive Eurasian milfoil as the control mechanism has occurred in Okanagan lakes since the 1970s.

“Our chamber appreciates the need to protect aquatic species and specifically the Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel (RMRM). However, we have significant concern about regulations that have recently prohibited the rototilling of the milfoil weed in areas where RMRM are located, particularly as there is no firm evidence that rototolling negatively impacts the RMRM,” said Diana Wilson, chamber president, in the letter. “If anything, there is evidence that allowing milfoil to grow unchecked will disturb conditions for the mussels.”

Related: Milfoil control stirs up Vernon water turbidity

Related: Climate change brings higher numbers of invasive aquatic plants in Okanagan

The chamber is also concerned that the decision to classify the RMRM as endangered under the Species at Risk Act does not reflect more recent studies, and particularly a 2015 study that estimated the total population at nine sites to be more than 13,000.

“We believe strongly that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada must review the latest data, and that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans must conduct public consultations on classifying RMRM as endangered,” said Wilson. “Anyone familiar with the Okanagan knows that our lakes are at the very heart of our lifestyle and economy. We depend on them for drinking water, irrigation, recreation and tourism. It is because of our reliance on these lakes that effective milfoil control is essential. Without it, the invasive plant infests public beaches, boating areas and marinas.”

In 1991, a B.C. Ministry of Environment report indicated that terminating the milfoil control program would lead to an economic decline of $85 million in tourism revenue, employment in tourism of 1,700 positions and real estate values of $360 million. Along with this, milfoil has a negative impact on water species.”

“Two of Vernon’s beaches infested with milfoil are now partially or wholly prohibited for milfoil derooting due to RMRM as is the community’s primary marina on Okanagan Lake. These amenities attract thousands of residents and visitors annually and any restriction on milfoil control will have a ripple effect on those activities,” said Wilson. “The chamber takes the status of the RMRM very seriously and we support measures that allow the species to flourish. However, there is a requirement for a more evidence-based and balanced approach that protects the RMRM while allowing the invasive Eurasian milfoil to be addressed.”

The chamber is asking the federal and provincial departments to conduct further research into the potential impact of milfoil derooting on RMRM and to permit the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) to conduct derooting in areas where milfoil control historically occurs.

Related: Native mussel species crimping Okanagan milfoil control plans

Related: Swimmer gets entangled in milfoil

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

WATCH: Vernon schools see gross effects of vaping

Kids spitting up blood a cause for concern

Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

Temperature swings, precipitation behind cracked pavement, city says

Kelowna grandmother scammed of $14,000 in phone scam

RCMP warn of Grandparent Scam in the Okanagan after December incident

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Avalanche danger closes Highway 1 near Chase

The highway is closed in both directions east of Chase

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Alumni trumpet band strikes emotional chord for Vernon girls

Vernon Girls Trumpet Band will be tooting their horn for the 60th Winter Carnival parade

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read