With thousands of boaters taking to the lakes of the Okanagan each summer, the threat of invasive species is always possible.
However, the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) is proud to announce that this year, they went mussel-free.
There were 148 samples taken from five lakes this season for invasive mussels, the most likely of which would have been zebra and quagga mussels. Both are not native to B.C.’s freshwater lakes, and can damage ecosystems, clog water pipes, and ruin beaches.
“The arrival of zebra or quagga mussels remains a clear and present danger,” said OASISS Executive Director Lisa Scott. “We must continue to be diligent in our prevention efforts.”
The society has been monitoring the lakes of the Okanagan for ten years. To date, no invasive mussels have been found.
In a similar study, the 12 lakes of Columbia- Shuswap were also found to be mussel-free.
This positive result does not mean that it cannot happen in the future. Boaters are reminded to clean, drain and dry their boat every time before they enter a new body of water.
“It could only take one contaminated boat to start an infestation,” said Scott. “Invasive mussels could have lasting negative impacts to our lakes, as we have seen in other parts of Canada.”