July 06, 2016 - 1:16 PM
VERNON - A group of people trying to keep invasive mussels out of local lakes plan to make a big splash later this month.
A Splash Mob is being organized on Kalamalka Lake to make a statement about the importance of protecting fresh water systems, organizer Brynne Morrice says. Participants on everything from boats to floaties will form a gigantic circle on the lake, he says.
“Specifically, what we’re concerned about is invasive zebra and quagga mussels,” Morrice says. “Things are being done to stop them but it’s still not quite enough.”
A filmmaker born and raised in Vernon, Morrice released a short documentary about the mussel threat last year. He's been calling on the provincial government for action to protect B.C. waters.
The provincial government announced $2 million for eight permanent mussel inspection stations in March 2016, five of which are on the B.C.-Alberta border, and three along the B.C.-United States border. It’s a good start, according to Morrice, but not enough.
“We’re still not stopping all boats, and until they do, it’s kind of pointless,” Morrice says.
The concern is that invasive zebra and quagga mussels will enter B.C. lakes on boats travelling from already infested bodies of water. The mussels reproduce rapidly and can soon encrust water intakes and dams, and leave beaches littered with sharp shells.
“If we want to keep them out for the long term we need more support from provincial and federal governments,” Morrice says.
He's hoping the splash mob gets the government's attention, as well as that of boaters.
"People moving boats between lakes need to take responsible actions: clean, drain, dry," Morrice says.
Anyone interested in taking part in the splash mob is asked to meet at Kal Beach around 9:30 a.m. July 24. A photo of the splash mob will be taken at 10 a.m.
“We have a team with a professional drone that will shoot video and photos from above,” Morrice says.
Organizers are asking for donations to help with the costs of putting on the event.
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