Mussels require action

Residents urge government to do more about invasive species

Premier Clark, we appreciate your ear in the discussion of quagga and zebra mussels as it should be looked at in a very serious matter.

As you are aware of the threat, as posted on your website, and with the announcement sent out July 10 by the Ministry of Environment, the possibility of the invasive quagga and zebra mussels entering our province’s water systems would be truly devastating.

We are pleased the government has recognized this threat as a valid one with supplying our beautiful province with three mobile decontamination units.

We are also really glad to hear that there was funding ($360,000, see funding below) to double our mobile decontamination units to six in our province.

Funding for this initiative is provided as follows:

Columbia Basin Trust – $275,000

Columbia Power Corporation – $70,000

FortisBC – $15,000

As stated, “These mobile units move between border locations, focusing on high-traffic routes and have the ability to quickly respond to any reports of potential threats called in through the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters line.”

Our concern is these are moving units, which means there could be that one unlucky boat that sneaks into our water system while the mobile unit is moving, gassing up, or pulling over to assist a potential boat already threatening our water.

As in many tourist-heavy, beautiful areas of the world, fees are applied to visit and be a part of the luxury. Boating in beautiful B.C. should be a privilege, as it truly is a luxury on our amazing lakes.

If someone would like to join our B.C. waterways recreationally, with their own boat from out of province, it will cost them an examination fee to pull into a weigh station (or some form of boat-stop entering our province).

The fee could be like an airport improvement fee, or like the toll for the Coquihalla Highway. Comparatively, I don’t think a $30 inspection fee is out of line to save B.C.’s water. Is it?

My point is, B.C. needs to make it mandatory that every single boat that enters from out of our province has got to be checked.

The charge goes to the users entering our province. If six mobile units is costing only $720,000 a year, could we save a bit on gas and vehicle use, and add a bit to just the entry points into our province?

Don’t you think it would be a much more proactive move, plus, adding revenue to pay for these services?

The mobile decontamination units would be awesome as a rapid response program for invasive mussels.

However, there is no rapid response necessary once one mussel lays its million eggs into a water system. The invasion will spread very rapidly throughout our province and literally deoxygenate our lakes.

Please watch www.protectourfreshwater.ca to see the scary possibility if we are not proactive.

Our lake is our drinking source and a big part of our economy.

As well, we really want our children’s children to enjoy Kalamalka Lake, like our community does now. Just like all other lake users in our magnificent province do too.

The Swanson Family

Vernon