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Mussel inspections find 19 boats carrying invasive species

A boat propeller engulfed with quagga mussels.The Okanagan Basin Water Board issued a report on the latest zebra and quagga mussel inspections statistics recently.
Image Credit: Image Credit: Contributed/US National Parks Service
November 13, 2019 - 6:00 AM

Nineteen out-of-province vehicles were heading for B.C. lakes last summer with zebra or quagga mussels on them, including three of them headed for the Okanagan.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board issued a brief on the latest invasive mussel inspection numbers as part of its Nov. 8 board report to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen last week.

Between late April and Sept. 15, the province carried out more than 50,000 inspections and found 1,240 watercraft to be high risk for zebra and quagga mussels. The mussels are non-native but can quickly spread

That number is up from the record number of 24,000 inspections conducted in 2016.

Nineteen of the watercraft were found carrying the mussels, including 14 from Ontario, two from Michigan, two from Utah, and one from North Carolina.

Eight of the watercraft were headed to the Lower Mainland, four to Vancouver Island, three for the Okanagan, two for the Kootenays, one for the Skeena and one for Alaska.

The seasonal program ended in October. A final report is expected soon.

For more on zebra and quagga mussels, click here.

— This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 13, 2019, to correct the number of inspections carried out on watercraft in 2019.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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