Staff from the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society sampling for invasive mussels veligers at Pierre’s Point on Shuswap Lake. (Photo: CSISS)

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) has wrapped up another field season monitoring 12 lakes for invasive mussels across the Columbia-Shuswap region. Between June and September, staff collected 116 water samples that were analyzed for the presence of invasive mussels. No invasive mussels were detected in any of the samples collected this season.

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels have been the focus of the Province’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program, which involves early detection lake monitoring, in addition to watercraft inspection stations, education and outreach. The CSISS is supported by the Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the Shuswap Watershed Council to monitor priority lakes in the upper Columbia and Shuswap watersheds at-risk of introduction of invasive mussels.

Currently, there are no known infestations of zebra or quagga mussels in B.C., including the Columbia Shuswap region. If invasive mussels were to become established in a waterbody in B.C., it would be extremely difficult to eradicate them and very costly to manage and mitigate the negative impacts. Cleaning, draining and drying watercraft and stopping at mandatory watercraft inspection stations are easy and effective methods to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species across the province.

CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY sticker on a boat in the Shuswap.(Photo CSISS)

When visitors with watercraft travel to our province, there is always a risk of accidental introduction of aquatic invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels. Through their summer outreach program, CSISS staff found that 55% of boaters (115 surveyed) were local to the Columbia Shuswap region, 20% were from other areas of B.C., and 20% were from Alberta; almost half of the visiting Albertans keep their boat in the Columbia Shuswap.

CSISS staff also visited smaller lakes with hand-launch sites, like Cedar Lake near Golden and Williamson Lake in Revelstoke, to provide information to owners of smaller watercraft, like canoes and paddleboards, which are also capable of spreading aquatic invasive species.

Unlike B.C.’s native mussels, zebra and quagga mussels attach to hard surfaces, like hulls and engines of watercraft. Due to their small size, they often go unnoticed while hitchhiking on watercraft moving between waterbodies. An introduction of invasive mussels into B.C. would seriously threaten our native aquatic ecosystems.

Zebra mussels were recently detected spreading further east in Canada, into Lac Témiscouata in Québec. This lake is found in the northern reaches of the St. John River watershed which covers a large portion of New Brunswick, a province that has yet to see an infestation of invasive mussels.

This new occurrence of zebra mussels in Canada highlights the potential risk for humans to serve as vectors for transporting aquatic invasive species. Watercraft owners must remain vigilant and recognize the important role they play in preventing or slowing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Staff from the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society sampling for invasive mussels veligers at Cedar Lake. (Photo: CSISS)

Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspected invasive species using the provincial “Report Invasives BC” smartphone application (available for download from or, if invasive mussels are suspected, to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

To learn more about invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap region, please visit:

To learn more about BC’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program and what to do if you are transporting you watercraft into BC, please visit:


Thank to our Funders!
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 Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Shuswap Watershed Council, Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Province of B.C.


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Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society