The propellor 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. (Image credit: CSISS)

LETTER: Urgent action needed to protect B.C. fresh water from invasive species

If we miss one boat, we will have allowed a permanent and devastating change to B.C.’s fresh water

To Minister Heyman:

It was a pleasure to meet your assistant deputy ministers Aug. 22 regarding the imminent threat that zebra and quagga mussels pose to B.C.’s freshwater ecology, native fish species, infrastructure, economy, tourism, beach quality, water quality, property values, hydro dams, drinking water, and all forms of freshwater recreation.

Your assistant deputy ministers agreed that, despite the boat inspection program in place, we are not at 100 per cent protection. Far from it, in fact. Without 24-hour stations at Dawson Creek, Mt. Robson, Radium and Crowsnest, it is a mathematical inevitability that a mussel-infested boat will enter B.C. during the night and will infest B.C..

Related: False alarm for invasive mussels found on boat at Osoyoos border

As your assistant deputy ministers explained, leaving those four inter-provincial border crossings unmonitored at night is a calculated risk. That is not acceptable. The risk is far too great.

You have a successful 24-hour station at Golden. There is no reason it can’t be replicated at the other four locations.

The primary obstacle is money, so I have put forward three ideas: a new $5 fee attached to the BC fishing licence, a new mandatory boater registration process with a $10 fee, or a $3 yearly surcharge for BC Hydro customers.

Some people will be slightly annoyed to have to pay these fees, but once they understand the need, they will gladly part with some pocket change to protect where they play, and protect B.C.

There is a clear way forward here, and I can see no reason to not take it, with all haste. Let’s close the gaps. Isn’t B.C. worth it?

Brynne Morrice


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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