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The BC Government has just made a big announcement to increase funding for invasive Zebra/ Quagga Mussel Prevention Efforts.

The following is taking from the Provincial Media Release:

Following a successful pilot program last year, today Premier Christy Clark announced a $2 million boost to the province’s invasive mussel defence program that will see eight permanent mussel inspection stations installed at major entry points along B.C.’s borders.

“B.C. is leading the fight against invasive species,” said Premier Clark. “To date, no zebra or quagga mussels have ever been detected in B.C.’s waterways – and we’re going to keep it that way. Eight more inspection stations are yet another tool towards ensuring we remain mussel-free.”

Quagga and zebra mussels pose a serious threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities. They can clog pipes, cause ecological and economic damage, displace native aquatic plants and wildlife, degrade the environment and affect drinking water quality.

Thanks to the generous support from BC Hydro, FortisBC, Columbia Power and the Columbia Basin Trust, $2 million in funding will enhance the successful program and introduce more protection at B.C.’s borders. The Province is also contributing in kind with staff, equipment and office space.

 

Aliens in the Water – All Eyes on Deck!

What alien invasive species has been detected in Revelstoke Lake Reservoir?

A — Quagga Mussels;

B — Zebra Musells; or

C — Eurasian Milfoil?

If you answered Quagga and/or Zebra Mussels you’d be wrong. But if you answered C — Eurasian Milfoil — you’d be the big winner.

Last autumn, the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society completed invasive plant and mussel detection surveys in high priority lakes in the North Columbia. To date, the analyses from Lake Kinbasket, Lake Revelstoke, The Upper Arrow reservoir, and the Columbia River all came back negative for Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

However, invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil was detected in Lake Revelstoke, near the Martha Creek Provincial Park boat launch. Our surveys confirmed earlier studies by BC Hydro and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations that originally found this site infestation.

Invasive milfoil and invasive mussels take over riparian and recreational water areas, making it dangerous and difficult for swimmers and native aquatic life. Eurasian Water Milfoil is found throughout the Shuswap Lake region, and the CSRD runs a program funded by Shuswap residents to manage milfoil infestations at public recreational areas.

Invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels have not been detected in British Columbia, and are a real threat to our economy and environment: it would cost millions of dollars annually to maintain infested hydro-dam and water-valve infrastructure; in addition, invasive mussels would pollute our beaches, and decimate native aquatic life,” says CSISS Program Manager Robyn Hooper, “It is illegal in BC to transport invasive mussels on your watercraft.”

The Eurasian Milfoil site at Martha Creek goes to show that we need to constantly be on the look-out for new invaders threatening our lakes and rivers,” says the CSISS Executive Director Natalie Stafl, “We encourage all watercraft users to properly clean, drain and dry their equipment to protect our waters.

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species is working with the appropriate jurisdictions and stakeholders regarding a strategy for the Eurasian Milfoil infestation in Lake Revelstoke, under the guidance of the Canadian Columbia Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Framework. CSISS is planning more invasive plant and mussel detection surveys for 2016, and is excited to have Laura Gaster back with the CSISS staff team as the new Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator this spring.

Clean Drain Dry Instructions for Boaters (ISCBC) Eurasian (left) and Native Milfoil (right) (H.Kassa CSRD) Inspecting a boat for invasive mussels, Lake Mead, USA. (CSISS) Invasive Quagga Mussel Lake Mead USA (CSISS)

Images (from Left to Right): 1. Clean Drain Dry Instructions for Watercraft Users (ISCBC), 2. Eurasian and Native Milfoil (H.Kassa), 3. Inspecting a Boat Motor Infested with Quagga Mussels in Lake Mead (CSISS), and 4. Quagga Mussels in Lake Mead (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. CSISS is thankful for the generous support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Reference Resources

For more information on the 2015 invasive plant and mussel surveys, take a look at the CSISS North Columbia Priority Aquatic Invasive Species Surveys 2015 Report.

Learn about where to properly clean your watercraft and what waterbodies in Eastern Canada and the Southern United States are infested in our Boat Decontamination and Wash Locations brochure.

BC Hydro Columbia River Project Water Use Plan: KINBASKET RESERVOIR FISH & WILDLIFE INFORMATION PLAN Reference: CLBMON-55. Revelstoke Reservoir Macrophyte Assessment – Phase 1 Study Period: July 2009 – October 2010. G3 Consulting Ltd. (Note: page 51-52 Invasive Species). Appendices.

BC Hydro. Columbia River Project Water Use Plan Kinbasket Reservoir Fish & Wildlife Information Plan. Revelstoke Reservoir Macrophyte Assessment Implementation Year 2 Reference: CLBMON-55.Revelstoke Reservoir Macrophyte Assessment – Phase 2. Study Period: September 2014 to October 2014. G3 Consulting Ltd.

 

 

Text Box: Eurasian milfoil (left) has many more leaf pairs compared to the native milfoil (pictured right)
Text Box: Eurasian Milfoil often grows in dense patches, outcompeting native aquatic vegetation and altering fish habitat
Text Box: View of submerged Eurasian milfoil looking back at Martha Creek Boat Launch

 

 

Are you or someone you know interested in working for the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society and preventing the spread of invasive species in the region?  Two job postings are available for the 2016 field season:

 

1) The Field Operations Program Coordinator is an exciting full-time, 4 month work opportunity for candidates with experience in invasive plant inventory, monitoring and natural resource management. The Field Operations Program Coordinator leads the CSISS Terrestrial Invasive Species field program, including conducting invasive plant inventories, bio-control monitoring, and landowner outreach with extensive travel throughout the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Download full job posting here: CSISS Field Operations Program Coordinator Job Posting

 

2) The Invasive Species Program Assistant is 4 month work term for qualified students in post-secondary programs, interested in communicating with the public and community groups about invasive species. Applicants for this position should be energetic, self-motivated and have excellent communication skills. This position is pending funding from Canada Summer Jobs Program. Download full job posting here: CSISS Invasive Species Program Assistant Job Posting

 

Job Locations: Work-sites are within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Staff may choose to work out of the CSISS Head Office in Revelstoke or may work out of a home-based office within the CSRD with bi-weekly meetings in Revelstoke.

 

Please send all CVs and cover letters to: info@columbiashuswapinvasives.org

 

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Our regional invasive species partner – the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society – is hiring:

Are you curious as to the issue and impacts of invasive species in the Central Kootenay region? Do you want to minimize the impacts of invasive species on the ecosystems, communities, and economy of the Central Kootenay region? Do you have extensive knowledge of integrated pest management, with proven experience in on-the-ground activities? Do you possess strong communication and leadership skills? If you do, then there is an exciting opportunity for you to join the team at CKISS!

To learn more and apply for the job visit the CKISS website.

Stay tuned for future job postings with the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society!

 

The Columbia Basin Invasive Species Groups:  Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS), East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), Northwest Invasive Plant Council (NWIPC) and the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) met up in Rossland for three days of meetings, training and program development.  Staff shared resources and worked hard to develop high quality, consistent invasive species programs for the Columbia Basin and beyond!

Watch for the roll-out of new programs such as Don’t Let It Loose in the spring and increased coordination and action on Aquatic Invasive Species throughout the region.

 

 

For the full report with photos, maps and descriptions of our 2015 programs please click here.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

April 2015 marked the start of the third operational season of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS). Since its

inception, the Society has actively pursued the goals identified in the 2013 CSISS Strategic Plan:

  1. Implement a collaborative and coordinated program
  2. Educate, engage and inspire residents and others to participate in invasive plant management
  3. Prevent the introduction of new invasive species
  4. Maximize the probability of detection and eradication of new invasive species
  5. Slow or reverse the spread of existing invasive species and reduce their harmful impacts
  6. Ensure program sustainability

In 2015, the CSISS strengthened and expanded its network of partners and furthered its objective to deliver collaborative and coordinated programs in the CSRD. This was achieved through its partnerships with various levels of government, the Invasive Species Council of BC, other regional invasive species groups, local stakeholders, residents and NGOs. Over 47 new and existing partnerships were established and strengthened.

Educating and engaging local residents continued to be a priority in 2015. The CSISS presented to and conducted targeted outreach to various stakeholders, landowners and First Nations. Additionally, the CSISS has supported numerous community events, hosted training workshops, re-designed and replaced outreach materials and banners, and engaged youth across the region through presentations and outdoor-based learning. Through these outreach activities, the CSISS directly engaged with over 2,960 people in the region, 986 of them youth.

The CSISS approached 18 garden centres and nurseries and presented the “PlantWise” message to various target groups to prevent new invasives from establishing in the region. CSISS staff also actively participated in the “Clean-Drain-Dry” Program, spreading the message to youth, local residents, water stewardship and boating groups to help prevent aquatic invaders such as Zebra/Quagga Mussels. Since January 2015, the CSISS was mentioned in 28 local news, radio and web pieces. Outreach through social media was also emphasized with an average of 1-2 posts per week on Facebooks and 127 ‘likes’ on the CSISS page. Through this media coverage the CSISS raised awareness of invasives and the importance of prevention activities.

In 2015, the CSISS hired an AIS contractor, Chris Harkness to inventory critical and high priority water bodies for aquatic invasive plants and Zebra/ Quagga mussel veligers to maximize the probability of detection and eradication of invasives. CSISS staff also targeted areas across the region for terrestrial invasive plant surveys, greatly enhancing our knowledge of the distribution and abundance of various high priority species in the region.

CSISS staff worked with key partners to slow and reverse the spread of invasive species. The CSISS hosted an Industrial Vegetation and Noxious Weed Applicator course in 2015 to train staff and build capacity among program partners. To enhance coordinated control efforts, CSISS staff collaborated with various land managers to ensure accurate, up-to date priority plant targets for active control. During the 2015 field season, CSISS staff documented and entered over 382 invasive plant records into IAPP. Over 78 volunteers participated in 6 weed pulls across the region, pulling over 125 bags of weeds!

In 2015, the CSISS employed 4 staff, 1 AIS contractor and added nearly $50,000 to its operating budget. Increasing in-house capacity and entering into multi-year funding agreements enhanced the overall program sustainability. Thanks to dedicated staff, diligent Directors, knowledgeable partners and inspired volunteers, the CSISS expanded its programming and made significant progress on each goal identified in the 2013 CSISS Strategic Plan.

CSISSsurveys2013to2015

Any questions or comments? Email us at info@columbiashuswapinvasives.org

 

Booth NAISMA NAISMA field pic

Last week, invasive species across the continent were discussed by land managers and stakeholders at the North American Invasive Species Association (NAISMA) Conference in Vancouver, BC. Our regional committee, the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society was highlighted at the BC Feature Night of the conference. Some highlights of the conference included presentations on: tsunami debris that can act as a vector for aquatic invasives; “Don’t Let It Loose” school programs to prevent the release of invasive pets and plants from aquariums; the latest biocontrol research for controlling invasive plants; BC’s Weeds and Roads Workshops for highways managers and contractors; and new mapping programs, such as EDDMaps, to quickly report and control invasives.

 

Our 2015 AGM was September 22, 2015 at the CSRD Salmon Arm office (555 Harbourfront Drive NE, Salmon Arm). The AGM was paired with an Aquatic Invasive Species Forum, showcasing demonstrations from the CSRD Eurasian Milfoil program, and provincial boat wash inspection and decontamination crew.

For Full Meeting notes click here: 2015 CSISS AGM Minutes

Below are links to presentations from the AGM and Aquatic Symposium:

CSISS AGM_09_22_2015_MOE - Presentation by Martina Beck and Matthias Herborg, Ministry of Environment Provincial Updates

CSISS AGM_2015_ISCBC - Presentation by Jody Romyn, Invasive Species Council of British Columbia Updates

Heise BC Invasive fishes CSISS Sept 2015 - Presentation by Brian Heise, Thompson Rivers University, Invasive Fish in the Columbia Shuswap

A huge thank you to our departing Board members Catherine MacRae and Joyce DeBoer. We are very grateful for their tremendous support as Board members since CSISS’ inception in 2013.

Congratulations to our Board of Directors who were elected and re-instated at the AGM! Current Board members include: Adam Croxall (BC Hydro), Bruce Husband (Former Spray Contractor), Bryan Chruszcz (Parks Canada), Chris Cochran (Town of Golden), Darren Komonoski (Town of Revelstoke), David Rooney (Illecilliwaet Greenbelt Society and local media), Diane Millar (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), Hamish Kassa (Columbia Shuswap Regional District), and Margaret Gibson (Retired Independent Biologist). Photo below of CSISS Board and staff members, Natalie Stafl (Executive Director), Robyn Hooper (Program Manager), and Laura Gaster (Program Assistant) at the 2015 AGM.

BoD

 

 

B.C. GETS BOOST IN FIGHT AGAINST INVASIVE MUSSELS

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VICTORIA  - Columbia Basin Trust is helping the province to double the number of mobile decontamination units aimed at stopping invasive mussels from entering British Columbia waterways, thanks to $360,000 in new funding.

 

This new partnership, in the Ministry of Environment led Invasive Mussel Defence Program, also includes support from Columbia Power Corporation, FortisBC and the four local invasive species councils operating in the region East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council, Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society and the Northwest Invasive Plant Council.

 

The new resources mean an additional three mobile inspection and decontamination crews will be dedicated to stopping and ensuring boats are free of mussels. The teams will be based in Cranbrook, Valemount and Nelson, to target major entry points from Alberta and the U.S. The new teams join three other crews that are already operational, doubling the number of mobile units dedicated to protecting B.C.s lakes and rivers against the threat of quagga and zebra mussels.

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The decontamination units allow auxiliary conservation officers, who are trained to identify mussel-infested boats, to decontaminate boats and trailers entering B.C. The teams also respond to boats identified as concerns by the Canada Border Services Agency, and partner agencies in Alberta and the U.S. The mobile units move between border locations, focusing on high-traffic routes and have the ability to quickly respond to any reports of potential threats called in through the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters line.

 

The addition of these specialized mussel detection teams further enhances the provincial early detection and rapid response program for invasive mussels. This includes supporting education and outreach activities, such as the Clean, Drain, Dry program being delivered by the invasive species councils.

 

Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a significant threat to Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and critical infrastructure such as hydroelectric and drinking water facilities. No zebra or quagga mussels have ever been found in B.C. waterways, and the Province is hard at work ensuring it stays that way.

 

Quotes:

Mary Polak, Minister of Environment

“Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and FortisBC recognize the importance of Ministry of Environment Columbia Basin Trust protecting aquatic infrastructure and environments in B.C. from invasive mussels. Thanks to their generosity, we are doubling the number of mobile decontamination units aimed at ensuring these invasive species never enter our waterways. This is another step forward in our ongoing efforts against invasive mussels.”

 

Bill Bennett, East Kootenay MLA

“Invasive mussels pose a threat to more than just ecosystems, but to drinking water facilities, hydro stations, agricultural irrigation and more. This funding boost from Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and FortisBC allows the Province to further strengthen efforts to stop zebra and quagga mussels from entering B.C.”

 

Neil Muth, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust

“Preventing the threat of invasive mussels is critical to protecting our waterways for environmental, economic and recreational reasons, and has been identified as a priority by the residents that live here. Increasing the level of protection in this region is key and we are pleased to support the prevention efforts this summer to keep mussels out of the Columbia Basin.”

 

Sue Dyer, vice president, Operations, Columbia Power Corporation

“Protecting aquatic infrastructure and the environment is important to Columbia Power. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Columbia Basin Trust to generate awareness of invasive mussels and create new decontamination sites.”

 

Jody Drope, vice president, HR & Environment, Health & Safety, FortisBC

“FortisBC operates in an environmentally responsible manner to protect the environment for future generations. Preventing the spread of invasive mussels is an important task facing the province today. These mussels grow at a rapid rate, killing off native aquatic life and posing a threat to our hydroelectric dams. We are committed to working on a solution to stem the mussels spread while ensuring the protection of our freshwater ecosystem.”

 

Khaylish Fraser, aquatic invasive species program coordinator, Central Kootenay Invasive

Species Society

“Preventing the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels is key because it only takes one boat with live mussels or their larvae to enter a waterway in B.C. to be catastrophic. This is why it’s so important that this defence program continue beyond this summer and that it continues to expand here in the Columbia Basin and throughout the province.”

 

Quick Facts:

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis

bugensis) are not native to B.C.

  • ·         Both of these species originate from Europe. They were introduced to Canada (in the Great Lakes region) and the United States in the 1980s, as the result of ballast water being discharged by vessels travelling from Europe.
  • ·         They are propeller blade shaped freshwater mussels that can easily attach themselves to objects and other organisms, and they are difficult to remove.
  • ·         Adult mussels will attach themselves to boat hulls, trailers, motors, vegetation and equipment.
  • ·         Where introduced, these mussels kill native mussels and clams, and reduce native fish species, by altering the aquatic food web. They also attach to aquatic plants and submerged surfaces, including piers, pilings, water intakes and fish screens.
  • ·         If large numbers of mussels become established in an area, they can cover hard surfaces and clog pipes.
  • ·         To report suspected invasive mussels, please call the Report All Poachers and Polluters line (RAPP), at 1 877 952-7277.
  • ·         Funding for this initiative is provided as follows:

o   Columbia Basin Trust $275,000

o   Columbia Power Corporation $70,000

o   FortisBC $15,000

  • ·         Columbia Basin Trust entered into a three year partnership with the four invasive species councils (councils) in the Basin last year. The councils have recently completed the development of a co-ordinated Basin-wide strategy for addressing priority aquatic invasive species, including mussels.
  • ·         The councils will provide their valuable time and equipment toward this initiative.
  • ·         Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. The Trust offers a range of services, programs, initiatives and financial investments for the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Columbia Basin now and for generations to come.
  • ·         Columbia Power develops, owns and operates hydro power projects in the Columbia Basin.
  • ·         FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities.

 

Learn More:

Find out more about invasive zebra and quagga mussels:

https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/factsheet-invasive-quagga-mussels-and-zebra-mussels

To find out more about what the public can do to help keep B.C. invasive-mussel free, visit:

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

To learn more about Columbia Basin Trust, visit: http://www.cbt.org/.

For more information about Columbia Power, visit: www.columbiapower.org.

For more information about FortisBC, visit: www.fortisbc.com.

 

May/June: CSISS School Programs, City Council Delegations, and Plant ID Training Sessions for Highway Contractors, Stewardship groups, Municipal Staff and other interested organizations. Please be in touch if you would like a training session or workshop for your staff.

May 28, 2015: Invasive Species Information Forum hosted by the Wetland Alliance with presentations from CSISS, the Shuswap Trail Alliance, and the White Lake Stewardship Group. Doors at 7pm, Deo Lutheran Church, 1801-30th St. NE Salmon Arm. No registration required.

June 4th, 2015 10am-12pm: Invasive Plant Identification and Management Workshop at the Golden Arena (1410 9 St S, Golden, BC) for weed management coordinators, highways/parks/city maintenance staff, First Nations, and other interested individuals/organizations.

July 9, 2015: Biocontrol Workshop with Catherine MacRae in Revelstoke. Learn about biocontrol in BC, as well as techniques in the field for identifying, and monitoring biocontrol agents.

Pesticide Applicator’s Course
August 24-27, 2015: Industrial Vegetation and Noxious Weed Certification Course with certified pesticide applicator Stu Craig (3 days) and exam (4th day).

To register for these events, contact: Robyn Hooper, CSISS Program Manager at rhooper@columbiashuswapinvasives.org