Monthly Archives: November 2016

 

Spreading the Word About the Success of Collaboration

In May 2016, partners with the Canadian Columbia Basin Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Program presented at the 19th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species: Global Advances in Research and Management of AIS. This conference series is widely considered the most comprehensive international forum on aquatic invasive species and continues to evolve to address new and emerging issues. Sessions and presentations included the review of accumulated scientific knowledge; presentation of the latest field research; introduction of new technological developments for prevention, monitoring and control; discussion of policy and legislation; and mechanisms to raise awareness through education and outreach initiatives. Presentations from this conference can be viewed here.

Welcome to Our Newest Steering Committee Members

The Columbia Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Team is excited to welcome new members to the steering committee:

  • Thomas Boos, AIS Coordinator, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  • Justin Bush, Executive Coordinator, Washington Invasive Species Council
  • Jesse Schultz, Biologist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Michael Zimmer, Biologist, Okanagan Nation Alliance

These new members will greatly increase collaborative opportunities that improve our efforts at preventing and managing harmful aquatic invasive species. To learn more about our new partners, and the rest of the AIS Team, visit their websites on our Columbia Basin AIS Team page.

First Detection of a Devastating Fish Disease

A non-native parasite that burrows into the head and spine of salmonids, such as salmon and trout, has been detected for the first time ever in Canada. Whirling disease is caused by this non-native parasite, making salmonids vulnerable to predators. The parasite can spread from one water body to another through contaminated bait and fishing gear. BC residents are urged to take extra precautions following the discovery of the potentially fatal whirling disease. Remember to follow the Clean, Drain, Dry process on all watercraft and fishing gear before and after entering BC’s lakes and rivers. Read the full story here.

Invasive Mussels Keep Getting Closer to BC!

In October, destructive invasive mussels were detected for the first time in Montana. Montana’s wildlife agency confirmed that there is a positive hit for zebra or quagga mussels in a reservoir located in the eastern part of the state. This is a little too close for comfort for us here in B.C.! We are just one of a handful of provinces and states that are still zebra and quagga mussel free…and we want to keep it that way! Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks staff say they’ve been preparing for this possibility for some time. Read more here about how this threat is being addressed at: (http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/cardd/MISAC) and  (http://www.kbzk.com/story/33686940/glacier-national-park-announces-boating-closure-due-to-invasive-mussels).

It’s Here – the new Clean Drain Dry Mobile App

It just keeps getting easier to do your part in protecting our waters from destructive aquatic invasive species! The new Clean Drain Dry (CDD) Mobile App uses unique campaign marketing materials and graphics to transport users to a video experience that informs and empowers positive actions to prevent the introduction and spread aquatic invasive species. Learn more here.

Protecting BC Waters from Invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels

The Provincial Invasive Mussel Defense Program had eight watercraft inspection stations operating in BC this year, and that’s great news because 17 boats contaminated with invasive mussels were caught before they had a chance to enter BC’s pristine water bodies! Protecting BC waters from these destructive invasive mussels is serious business; 46 tickets were issued to motorists for failing to stop at a watercraft inspection station! See all of the numbers and more about aquatic invasive species here.

 

No Invasives Mussels Detected in 2016!

Protecting Our Waters from Zebra and Quagga Mussels in the Columbia Shuswap

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Photo Caption: Laura Gaster, the CSISS Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator, samples for invasive mussel larva (veliger) in Trout Lake as part of the early detection program to protect our waters. To date, no invasive mussels have been detected in the Columbia Shuswap.

The Columbia Shuswap’s beautiful lakes, rivers, and wetlands are threatened by an aquatic invader: invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels! Thankfully, this summer, no mussels were detected in the 35 samples collected by the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society, in partnership with Ministry of Environment. “We are thrilled with these results, and hope to continue to raise awareness about impacts of invasive mussels, to prevent their introduction into BC,” says CSISS Executive Director Robyn Hooper, “as well, we are thankful for our partnership with the Province and support of the Columbia Basin Trust to complete this work.”

Aquatic invasive species are a major concern for British Columbia, and the Columbia Shuswap region is no exception. Currently the largest threat to BC’s freshwater is the Zebra and Quagga Mussel, which has been estimated to cost the province $43 million dollars annually, if an infestation were to occur. These mussels are less than 2cm in size and quickly form dense clusters that can interfere with the flow and quality of water.

Zebra and Quagga mussels reproduce and spread rapidly making it impossible to remove them from large bodies of water or connected waterways. Mussel larvae, or veligers, are invisible to the naked eye and disperse naturally by downstream currents, or in boat ballast systems. As they grow, they attach to hydro infrastructure, aquatic plants, boats, motors and recreation equipment.

  

What is the current status of the lakes and rivers in the Columbia Shuswap region?

During the 2016 field season, CSISS collected 35 veliger (mussel larva) samples and surveyed 22 priority water bodies in the Columbia Shuswap region in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the Columbia Basin Trust.

The results are in! No Zebra or Quagga mussel veligers were found in any of the samples collected by CSISS and there are no known cases of invasive Zebra or Quagga mussels in the Province of BC. “These surveys provide valuable information that is essential for the early detection and rapid response program,” says Laura Gaster, the CSISS Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator, “The Zebra and Quagga mussels would have devastating consequences for our economy and environment that is reliant on pristine fresh water systems.”

What are the impacts of Zebra and Quagga Mussels (ZQM)?

In the Columbia-Shuswap, access to clean water makes our community thrive. Invasive species such as the Zebra and Quagga mussels negatively impact the environment, economy and recreational uses of the affected communities. An invasive population of mussels can clog and damage any water intake system or infrastructure, including piping, boats, dams, and irrigation systems. The presence of mussels creates higher maintenance costs for multiple industries including: hydropower, municipal water supply, fishing, industrial, agricultural, tourism and recreation.

Invasive mussels cause severe ecological problems. They produce harmful wastes and deplete important nutrients causing a bottom-up reaction in the food chain, ultimately degrading water quality and reducing essential resources. Invasive mussels would threaten native biodiversity including wildlife and fish populations.

The tourism industry in the Columbia Shuswap depends on our pristine natural environment.  A mussel infestation can seriously degrade the recreational opportunities in the Columbia Shuswap by putting the quality of the beaches at risk. As the mussel die, they wash up on shore, leaving the sand full of sharp and foul-smelling dead mussels.

What you can do to help

As a boat or watercraft owner, be sure to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” your boat before and after launching into a new water body to prevent the spread of any aquatic invasive species. You can also report invasive mussels by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

All watercraft users coming from out of BC are required to stop at provincial inspection stations, where decontamination may be required for infested or suspect watercraft. As of September 27th, 2016 90 watercrafts were ordered for decontamination this year by the Province’s inspection crews.

Learn more at:

https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/mussels.htm

https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/inspectionprogram.htm

https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/invasive-species/inspectiondata.htm

What is CSISS?

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, management and reduction of invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. In addition to field work, CSISS delivers education and outreach programs, such as “Clean, Drain, and Dry”.  CSISS is thankful for the generous support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and the Province of British Columbia.