July 12, 2016 - 8:30 PM
VERNON - Starting July 16, Vernon RCMP volunteers conducting vessel safety checks at Paddlewheel Park boat launch will also be checking vessels for invasive quagga and zebra mussels.
As of December 2012, B.C. law requires that no zebra or quagga mussel, alive or dead, be present on boats or related equipment.
Failure to clean mussels off boats or equipment could result in a fine of up to $100,000.
Vessels coming from a high-risk location, or with indicators that mussels are evident, may be required by law to be either quarantined or decontaminated.
Vernon RCMP volunteers will work in conjunction with Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to working collaboratively to prevent, monitor and control the spread of invasive species in the Okanagan-Similkameen region.
Volunteers will be using a questionnaire that follows Ministry of Environment (MOE) protocols. If a boat is determined to be high risk for invasive mussels (based on the answers to those questions) or if the RCMP volunteers were to observe anything suspect, they will call the toll-free reporting line 1-877-952-7277 or have the boaters call, ideally in their presence.
“This initiative will help assist us in keeping our lakes free from this invasive species,” said Barbara Leslie, Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector with MOE.
This is strictly a voluntary check that will help boaters in the Okanagan be proactive in keeping our important lakes and waterways protected.
Those who enjoy boating or other water related activities are reminded to clean, drain and dry their boat and other equipment. We can all help to prevent the spread of invasive species into B.C. waters.
For more information on zebra and quagga mussels, visit the Invasive Species Council of B.C. website.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016