Photos shows a cluster of zebra mussels taken from Lake Winnipeg. Authorities fear they could soon infest lakes in B.C. Black Press file photo

Town council supports tougher action on mussels

It would be catastrophic if Dutch Lake were to be infested with quagga or zebra mussels

By Keith McNeill

It would be catastrophic to this area if a waterbody such as Dutch Lake were to be infested with quagga or zebra mussels, according to councillor Shelley Sim.

She was speaking in favor of a request from District of Sicamous for a letter of support for a resolution submitted to Union of BC Municipalities for an increase in provincial funding for awareness and education on the threat that quagga and zebra mussels pose to B.C.’s lakes.

Getting more dogs involved in examining boats being brought into the province would be a good first step, Sim felt.

One mussel can produce one million mussels per year, the resolution from Sicamous pointed out.

READ MORE: Invasive mussels found at Shuswap Lake (2012)

Large colonies can affect spawning areas, impacting the survival of fish eggs.

They can reduce the amount of plankton in the water and increase the amount of aquatic vegetation.

Their shells can cut the feet of swimmers.

Many B.C. lakes could become infested and, once established, there is no feasible way to remove the mussels.

The potential cost to the province would be billions of dollars.

The Sicamous resolution called for more controls on the provincial and international borders and more education of boaters and the general public.

Possible funding sources would include user fees for out-of-province users at boat ramps, lake passes for B.C. boaters, and all fines being reallocated back to the program.

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