The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society has launched an educational video aimed at spreading awareness of the risks invasive mussels pose to locals.
It's called "Invasive Mussels: Why Care?" and it showcases four individuals from various professions to explain how their industries would be affected if invasive zebra and quagga mussels were to arrive in Okanagan lakes.
"We are excited to see the public response," said Lisa Scott, executive director of OASISS. "We hope it inspires more people to do their part in protecting our lakes."
Zebra and quagga mussels are non-native, freshwater mollusks originally from Eastern Europe and Western Russia. They were introduced to the Great Lakes region in the 1980s and have since spread into lakes around North America, damaging sensitive ecosystems, clogging water intake pipes and infrastructure, and reducing water quality with an impact on tourism and the local economy.
To date, there has been no reported introduction of live zebra or quagga mussels into B.C. lakes or waterways, and the society would like to keep it that way through education and enforcement.
"Given current circumstances, we are moving many of our outreach efforts to a digital platform,” Scott said. “This video is the first of many new initiatives that we plan to implement this year."