The propeller of a motorized boat encrusted with invasive mussels. Zebra and Quagga mussels can thrive in tiny crevices and even inside outboard motors, meaning very thorough cleaning is required to prevent their spread. (Contributed)

Vernon chamber warns against spread of invasive species

Concerns tied to increased promotion of domestic travel during the pandemic

Canadians have been encouraged to travel domestically during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce to voice concerns about the spread of invasive aquatic species.

The chamber has written to both the federal minister of fisheries and oceans and the federal minister of public safety about invasive species such as quagga and zebra mussels and their potential impact on the Okanagan Valley.

“The spread of aquatic invasive mussels poses a significant threat to the Okanagan’s ecosystem, lifestyle and economy, and the potential for an infestation is very real as Canadians are encouraged to travel and explore this great nation during the pandemic,” chamber president Krystin Kempton said.

The chamber urged the government to emphasize the need for visitors to clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment before entering B.C. in all government campaigns promoting travel among Canadians.

READ MORE: Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

The chamber also highlighted the need to to strengthen the Pleasure Craft Operator Card course by providing participants with information about AIS inspection stations and the need to drain water from equipment and keep drain plugs out during transport.

“U.S. citizens entering B.C. to reach Alaska could also put our lakes at risk, particularly given the recent increase in watercraft arriving in Montana infested with zebra and quagga mussels,” Kempton said.

“We urge the government to provide the Canadian Border Services Agency with the necessary resources to prevent the infestation of Canadian waters by watercraft and equipment crossing our border.”

Tourism provides employment for thousands of Okanagan residents. The Okanagan Basin Water Board estimates the annual loss to tourism revenue from invasive mussels could range from $12 to $22 million.

The chamber warns the invasive species could also tank real estate values by $10 million per year due to beaches covered by razor-sharp shells. The chamber also points to the higher taxes that could the result of municipalities having to make expensive efforts to remove mussels from water utility infrastructure.

READ MORE: No additional federal funding for invasive mussels fight in Shuswap-Okanagan


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Tours connect North Okanagan to history

Museum makes August all about field trips

Community Champion: Jake and Mary Spoor feel blessed to give back to Vernon

As immigrants themselves, Mary and Jake understand how isolating it can feel in a new country

Get Outdoors!: Rattlesnakes Are Fascinating! Part 2

Columnist Roseanne Van Ee provides information about rattlesnakes in the North Okanagan

Vernon’s pump prices second lowest in B.C.

Gasoline prices range from 102.9-114.9 cents per litre in North Okanagan city

Splatsin Elder struggles to stop tubers from accessing his private property

Nathan Kinbasket has a certificate of possession on the area

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire in Shuswap

Cause of blaze on Mara Lake under investigation, flames erupt at 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Alberta vehicles allegedly damaged in Summerland

Lug nuts loosened, windows smashed in several instances in Okanagan community

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

Rebecca Hamilton recieved a boost in a battle against cancer - $25,000 for post chemo treatments

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Most Read