Kelowna joins lobbying effort to get funding to fight invasive mussels | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna joins lobbying effort to get funding to fight invasive mussels

Once Zebra and quagga mussels get into a waterway, there is no known way of getting them out.
Image Credit: Mussel Threat

Kelowna's mayor is concerned about invasive zebra and quagga mussels in the Okanagan's lakes.

Dyas brought the issue before city council today, Jan. 22, and expressed his concern the provincial government, and therefore the federal government, may not advance funding for testing of boats that come into the Okanagan.

"These species have recently spread rapidly throughout the water ways of the United States and they now pose a threat to our fresh waters," Mayor Tom Dyas said.

READ MORE: Thousands of invasive mussels removed from vessel heading to B.C.

Boats carrying these species have been stopped on their way into BC waters in the past.

In July 2022, a barge carrying thousands of the aquatic critters was stopped on its route from Lake Ontario. The mussels were removed, resulting in the largest mussel decontamination ever.

Mayor Dyas said he hopes to communicate with the province to avoid the potential financial damage these mussels could cause as well the impact on Kelowna's tourism and fresh water.

READ MORE:  Invasive mussels in B.C. won't just be expensive, Okanagan Basin Water Board warns

A report from the province in 2023 showed an estimated financial burden of $64 million to $129 million for BC each year. However, according to the Okanagan Basin Water Board it could be even higher.

"I am absolutely aghast that the provincial and federal governments wouldn't jump on this, to want to deal with this very seriously. This will ruin tourism as we know it for seven years, should anything happen and this is incredible serious," councillor Mohini Singh said. 

Coun. Singh suggested the city council send a "very strongly worded" letter to the province, as it will need help from senior levels of government to face the issue. 

READ MORE: BC Interior opposition MPs call on feds to increase funding to stop invasive mussels

The concerns aren't new.

In November 2023, five BC Interior Conservative MPs wrote a letter to the federal government demanding that better resources be put in place to protect BC's lakes from these invasive species.

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