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


Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society