EDITORIAL: Mussels require greater response

More needs to be done immediately to ensure the integrity of our lakes

The provincial government boasts a lot about how it’s preventing invasive mussels from taking hold in B.C. lakes.

But the reality is it’s not enough.

“We’re having close calls,” said Doug Findlater Okanagan Basin Water Board chairperson.

While there are eight border stations, the facilities, and particularly the ones along the Alberta border, are only open 10 hours a day.

“We could see someone come through once the station is closed and drop it (boat) into the water,” said Findlater.

And such a scenario could be devastating given that quagga and zebra mussels can clog pipes, cause ecological and economic damage, displace native aquatic plants and wildlife, degrade the environment and affect drinking water quality.

Of the 6,100 boats inspected so far this year in B.C., 240 came from high-risk jurisdictions and eight were infested with adult quagga or zebra mussels. That means mussels are at our doorstep.

The Ministry of Environment can’t be complacent when it reviews the statistics.

More needs to be done immediately to ensure the integrity of our lakes and that means more financial resources are required to expand surveillance at the borders.