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Boat inspection stations are now up and running

USE THIS ONE - A boat propeller engulfed with quagga mussels.
Image Credit: Image Credit: Contributed/US National Parks Service
May 16, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Boat inspection stations are now open in B.C., as inspectors look for zebra and quagga mussels.

From now until late October, inspectors with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service will check boats for aquatic invasive species as part of the Province's Invasive Mussel Defence Program. Inspectors are educating people about the importance of Clean, Drain and Dry - preventative steps that all boaters are asked to practise when moving between lakes and rivers.

"Invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels are a major threat to our ecosystems and infrastructure in British Columbia," George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said in a press release. 

From yellow starthistle to Paterson's curse, zebra and quagga mussels are among a list of invasive species that can spread rapidly, out-compete or feed on native species, dominate natural and managed areas, and alter ecosystems. Some invasive species, such as poison hemlock and death cap mushroom, are toxic to people, pets and livestock.

Anyone transporting a watercraft in B.C. is required to stop at an inspection station. Failing to stop can result in a $345 fine.

Already this year the effort to stop invasive species from getting into waterways has gotten underway with different endeavours.

Working closely with counterparts in western Canada, the federal government and the U.S. to respond to zebra mussels coming into the country through aquarium plants commonly sold as moss balls in pet stores and garden centres. More than 9,000 moss balls, suspected or confirmed to be contaminated with zebra mussels, have been seized or surrendered to B.C. conservation officers since early March 2021.

The Invasive Mussel Defence Program has three main components: watercraft inspections, lake monitoring, and public outreach and education.

People can report sightings of invasive mussels by calling 1-877-952-7277 or by using the Report Invasives BC smartphone app.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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