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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

 

Thanks to generous support of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, CSISS is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new vehicle.  This vehicle will enhance our capacity to support invasive species awareness and education thought out the region.  Look for us at community events, parks, boat launches and roadsides, as we complete inventories and increase our understanding of priority invasive plants in our region. CSISS is grateful for the continuing support of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, as well as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and the Columbia Basin Trust, as we expand upon our existing programming.

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With the support of the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Council (CKIPC), East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council (EKIPC), Northwest Invasive Plant Council (NWIPC) and CSISS have embarked on a Columbia Basin Invasive Species Collaboration to enhance both aquatic and terrestrial programming throughout the Basin. On the 6th and 7th of October the groups met in Castlegar, BC to exchange ideas and kick-start the development of a strategic framework for an aquatic invasive species program in the Columbia Basin. Stay tuned for more updates as the program and framework develop!

A New Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Framework for the Columbia Basin

Join us for a webinar on Apr 20, 2015 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Register now!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5399441384830086914

Did you know that zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a threat to the health of the waters in the Columbia Basin? This webinar will provide an overview of the importance of addressing AIS in the Basin as well as the draft AIS Framework for developing a coordinated AIS program. In 2014, a collaborative partnership was developed between Columbia Basin Trust and the four regional invasive plant committees within the Columbia Basin (Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committee, East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council, Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society and the North West Invasive Plant Council) to develop a strategic approach to Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) prevention and management. Juliet Craig of Silverwing Ecological Consulting has been developing this Framework under the guidance of a regional Steering Committee. She is presenting the proposed AIS Program Framework in order to provide opportunities for comments and feedback.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

Check out the Province’s latest Announcement to allocate $1.3 million towards prevention of Zebra/ Quagga mussels.

Catch up on the newly released Canadian Columbia Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Framework

 

 

The CSISS has several job opportunities available for the 2015 operational season including:

1) Program Assistant (April-September 2015)
1-2) Summer Student position(s) (May-August 2015)

Please note that positions are funding dependent and all postings close March 22nd, 2015.
For more information, see full job posting: CSISS Program Assistant Job Posting

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Join our team of inspired individuals!

 

Our partner, the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is hosting its 10th Annual Forum coming up in late January. All are welcome! CSISS will be in attendance to learn about the latest in invasive species action across the province.  More information about the Forum including registration information can be found here: http://bcinvasives.ca/news-events/events/invasives-2015

ISCBC agenda

 

 

Join us Wednesday, October 8th from 9:00 am -12:30 pm PT for the second Annual General Meeting of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS).

1) Learn about the latest in Bio-control with special guest Catherine MacRae
2) See what CSISS has been up to this summer
3) Help us review and revise our Regional Priority Plant List

Complimentary lunch will be provided with a Board of Directors meeting to follow.

Please RSVP before Monday, October 6th.
Special thanks to all of our sponsors, the CSRD, CBT, MOTI and MFLNRO for their financial support in making these meetings possible.

 

How to register: Email info@columbiashuswapinvasives.org with your name, organization, and dietary restrictions.

Where: Revelstoke Community Centre, 600 Campbell Avenue

When: 8:30am- 12:30pm with food/beverages provided

To read the full agenda click here: Agenda_CSISS_AGM_2014

 

 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY The Invasive Species Council of BC is conducting a survey on public awareness of invasive plants. The survey will be used to facilitate assessment and planning of initiatives to help control the spread of invasive plants. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes and all measures to protect the privacy of survey respondents will be undertaken.

[Photo of Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant that takes over riparian and wetland areas. Photo credit: Natalie Stafl]

 

Last week CSISS Education and Outreach Officer, Robyn Hooper and Chair of the CSISS Board of Directors, Hamish Kassa, scoured Trout Lake for aquatic invasive plants. They were joined by the Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Council’s Aquatic Surveyor Chris Harkness and summer field assistant, who also surveyed smaller surrounding lakes.  Much to their relief, they only encountered native vegetation.  Let’s keep it that way!  Always Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat to help keep our lakes and rivers pristine!  For more information visit:

http://bcinvasives.ca/resources/programs/clean-drain-dry/

 

CSISS is partnering with Shuswap Trail Alliance and White Lake Stewardship Group for a fun, active trail maintenance day, including clearing invasive species! Bring your work clothes/boots, water and snacks. Lunch will be provided.

We will meet at the White Lake Bike Park (otherwise know as John Evdokimoff Park) for the 8:30 start. 

Please RSVP with Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/679657405455705/  or email outreach@columbiashuswapinvasives.org

Directions: Approx 9.3 km east of Sorrento on Hwy 1 at the Balmoral Rd junction, White Lake Rd forms a loop, returning to Hwy 1 at Carlin 4 km farther east, approx 20 km west of Salmon Arm. Watch for the Bike Park sign just before the Parri Rd intersection at the west end of White Lake.

For more information, email: outreach@columbiashuswapinvasives.org

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