The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) is launching the second year of a citizen-science project that involves community members in protecting Okanagan lakes from invasive zebra and quagga mussels.
The project is looking for residents who own private docks on Kalamalka, Wood, Okanagan, Skaha and Osoyoos lakes.
Volunteers will be provided with a pair of invasive mussel monitors to be attached to their docks and will be required to check them every two weeks throughout August and September.
“Our Society has been checking for invasive mussels for nine years. However, this initiative greatly expands our efforts to locations that were previously inaccessible,” said Lisa Scott, executive director of OASISS.
Zebra and Quagga mussels, also known as invasive mussels, were introduced from Eastern Europe and Western Russia to the Great Lakes Region in the 1980s.
They have spread into lakes around North America, mainly by contaminated watercraft, but so far BC has remained mussel-free.
“We are extremely concerned about the possibility of invasive mussels arriving here,” says Scott.
“They are nearly impossible to get rid of once they become established. It’s imperative as a community to do everything we can to protect our lakes from an invasion.”