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No Invasives Mussels Detected in 2016!

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


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:

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.



You’re invited!

CSISS Annual General Meeting
September 21st, 2016
1:00pm-2:00pm MST: 
AGM, Guest Speakers, and 2016-2017 Board Elections
Location: Golden Arena, Golden BC (1410 9th St South)
Who: All Columbia Shuswap stakeholder groups, CSISS Board members, CSISS members, regional / neighbouring organizations and individuals are invited.
Interested in being a Board member? We look for Board members from various stakeholder perspectives who are available for 4 strategic meetings a year (2 in person) and are interested in invasive species management. Please email us to learn more:

Also New Announcement for Fall Training Courses:
Forestry and Invasives Workshops with the Invasive Species Council of BC
CSISS and ISCBC will be hosting two invasive species workshops for forestry staff, licensees and interested organizations to learn more about forestry and invasive plants, including identification of priority species and best management practices to prevent the spread of invasives.
September 20th, 9am – 12pm. NEW: added session 1pm-4pm. Revelstoke, BC.
September 21st, 9am- 12pm. Golden, BC (in conjunction with AGM)
Please email to register or learn more about workshops:

Knotweed MOTI ROW Salmon Arm Knotweed

ALERT: Invasive Bohemian Knotweed Infestatations found in Golden and Nicholson area on private properties.
This is a high priority regional EDRR (Early Detection Rapid Response) species for the Golden Invasive Plant Management Area. CSISS staff will be working with property owners to develop eradication strategies.
Learn more about Knotweed here.


To report invasives in the Columbia Shuswap, please fill out our short, easy online reporting form or call us at 1-855-785-9333.


Watch out, they’re back.  Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus) is blooming once again in the Columbia Shuswap region.  This invasive plant may look pretty, but is one of our worst invasive plant species.  It threatens aquatic habitats and takes over recreational waters forming dense vegetative mats encircling the waterbodies it invades.  It is currently found in Gardom Lake, Little White Lake, White Lake, and the Turner Creek Trail System in Salmon Arm.

Each year volunteers put on their waders and break out the garden shears to remove this invasive plant from these ecologically and recreationally important water bodies.  So far in 2016, weed pulls have been conducted at Gardom Lake, Little White Lake and the Turner Creek Trail system with over 15,000 kilograms of plant material being removed!

Additionally, each year the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) maps the Yellow Flag Iris infestation tracking removal progress, and new in 2016, CSISS has partnered with Thompson Rivers University to install non-permeable mats to ensure this invasive plant does not return.

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is dedicated to removing this invasive plant from our waterways and you can help too! Don’t purchase Yellow Flag Iris from garden centres (yes, some places still sell it!), contact CSISS to join in on a local weed pull, and keep an eye out for this riparian invasive plant in your water ways reporting all invasive sightings to the CSISS website.

For more information on Yellow Flag Iris identification, impacts and management techniques see here:

Or visit the CSISS webpage here:


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, and the Province of BC (the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, BC Parks, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure).


May is Invasive Species Action Month in BC !

 Preventing and stopping the spread of harmful invasive species in BC requires the involvement of all British Columbians, which is why the BC government and several organizations such as the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) have declared the entire month of May as Invasive Species Action Month. By working together and being vigilant, we can stop invasive species from threatening BC’s environment, economy and society.

With summer just around the corner, May is the perfect time to take action on invasive species. To promote Invasive Species Action Month, CSISS invites British Columbians to and to post to social media using the hashtag #bcinvasives. The website includes links to events and activities being held by CSISS, other regional invasive species committees, local governments and stewardship organizations across BC.

In addition, this year’s Invasive Species Action Month includes a photo contest where people can post photos of invasive species and people taking action to prevent their spread. Photos must be posted to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #bcinvasivescontest to enter to win great prizes. More details are available at

For every week of Invasive Species Action Month, CSISS will highlight specific programs that help British Columbians take action against invasives:

  • Week 1: Don’t Let It Loose! focused on the harm of releasing unwanted pets and aquarium plants into the wild
  • Week 2: PlantWise, educating gardeners and those in agriculture, ranching and horticulture about preventing and stopping the spread of invasive plants in BC
  • Week 3: Outdoor Recreation, reminding campers and outdoor sports enthusiasts to Buy it Where you Burn It for firewood, and Play Clean Go to remove debris from sports equipment to prevent spreading invasives
  • Week 4: Clean Drain Dry focused on educating boaters about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species like mussels and plants.

CSISS will be hosting a variety of events in support of Invasive Species Action Month including:


  • May 18-19, 2016. Salmon Arm, Plant Identification Workshop with Ken Marr and Okanagan College. FREE
  • May 27, 2016. Revelstoke, Community Based Social Marketing with CBEEN and NCES
  • May 28, 2016. Revelstoke, Teaching About Invasive Species with CBEEN and NCES 
  • May 12, 2016. Revelstoke, 9am-11am OR 12pm-2pm. Invasive Plant ID and Management Workshop. FREE
  • May 31, 2016. Golden, 10am-12pm. Invasive Plant ID and Management Workshop. FREE
  • May 10, 2016. Sicamous, 9-11am. Invasive Plant ID and Management Workshop. FREE
  • May 10, 2016. Salmon Arm, 2pm-4pm. Invasive Plant ID and Management Workshop. FREE

Weed Pulls and Restoration Events:

  • May 12, 2016. Revelstoke. Revelstoke Reach Restoration Project
  • May 25, 2016. Salmon Arm. SABNES Trail Nightshade weed pull
  • May 29, 2016. Gardom Lake. Yellow Flag Iris weed pull
  • June 2-3, 2016 Little White Lake, Yellow Flag Iris weed pull


To learn more and register e-mail:

For all workshops and events, visit:



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:




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.


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.


Any questions or comments? Email us at