July 02, 2015 - 8:00 PM
PENTICTON - Inspectors are making sure Penticton beaches remain mussel-free this summer.
Inspectors Branden Beck and Graham Wheating say it’s their second time to be stationed at the Kaleden scales, inspecting boats for any sign of invasive zebra and quagga mussels, part of a provincial program that has three crews monitoring highways, beaches and boat launches for watercraft carrying the destructive organisms.
“There are three crews currently inspecting, here in Penticton, one in Invermere and one in Nelson,” Beck says, adding three more crews will be stationed in Cranbrook, Nelson and Valemont as well.
Wheating says only one boat has been found carrying mussels so far, discovered in the Penticton area June 29. Fortunately, they were all dead.
Wheating says the inspection team has also performed decontamination procedures on two boats considered high risk.
Signage set up on the highway on the approaches to the weigh scales advise motorists of the boat inspection. The inspection team does not have the authority to chase down those who fail to heed the signage and turn into the scales though.
“Often there will be a member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement unit, or a Conservation Officer with us who can run down drive-bys. If they aren’t here, we do our best to get a license number,” says Beck.
Boat traffic on Highway 97 has been sporadic so far this summer, Wheating says.
“Some days we’ve checked up to 40 boats. Other days, it can be way less than that. It’s hit and miss,” he says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015