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Okanagan monitoring mussels

 

A Central Okanagan boat launch is part of a valley-wide network of monitoring stations for invasive mussels. 

The monitor device is installed in Okanagan Lake at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park boat launch that is maintained by the Regional District. 

The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) installed the monitoring station and checks it monthly through the fall, along with taking a plankton tow sample of the water for any signs of Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

The monitoring station is made of a rope with a weight at one end and a series of small sections of PVC pipe and mesh. If the invasive mollusk species (which ranges in size from a grain of sand to thumbnail size) is present, it will attach to this artificial, solid surface. 

The monitor is intended to act as a warning device as this would be a likely location that any mussels would show up, being transported on or in boats and trailers.

The Society and the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan WaterWise program are encouraging all owners of personal watercraft and boats to ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ and check their vessels for signs of the invasive mussels, especially if they have been out of the province.  

By adopting the ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’ protocol residents and visiting boat owners can help protect BC lakes from these species, which have caused havoc and created a major economic cost in other jurisdictions because they rapidly colonize on hard surfaces, impacting tourism, recreation and infrastructure.

To learn more about OASISS visit www.oasiss.ca 

For information on the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ initiative and how you can help, visit www.dontmoveamussel.ca

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