Shuswap Watershed Council and CSISS: an important partnership to keep invasive mussels out of the Shuswap watershed
PHOTO CAPTION: CSISS Field Operations Manager Laura Gaster and Shuswap Watershed Council Program Manager Erin Vieira out sampling Shuswap Lake for invasive mussels – so far no mussels have been found in BC. (Photo: CSISS)
Since 2018, the Shuswap Watershed Council has been partnering with the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society to support invasive mussel monitoring at priority lakes in the Shuswap Watershed, as well as outreach prevention efforts in the region. With more visitors and watercraft moving into and out of the Shuswap, there is an increased risk of an accidental introduction of invasive species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels. Outreach to boaters and the boating industry is a key part of prevention.
Between 2018 and 2022, 484 samples collected across the Shuswap watershed and no invasive mussels have been found to date. Outreach has included hundreds of interactions with boaters and boat industry groups to encourage stopping at provincial watercraft inspection stations along the borders, as well as Clean Drain Dry practices to prevent the spread of other aquatic invasives.
The SWC is a collaborative, non-regulatory group that focuses on strategic initiatives to protect, maintain and enhance water quality and to promote safe recreation in the Shuswap. Invasive mussels would significantly impact water quality in the region, so that is where the partnership with the CSISS is vital to protecting this region’s waters. With support from other grants, including the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation invasive mussel lake monitoring grant, CSISS is able to leverage the funds from SWC two-fold to directly work on aquatic invasive species monitoring and prevention in the region.
There is an upcoming referendum within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (for residents of Areas C, D, E, F, G and the District of Sicamous) for voters to participate in the decision to continue funding the Shuswap Watershed Council. More information about the referendum – such as voting times, locations, voter eligibility etc. – can be found here: https://www.csrd.bc.ca/544/Shuswap-Watershed-Council-Referendum-FAQ Information about the Shuswap Watershed Council can be found at www.shuswapwater.ca.
CSISS is grateful for the opportunity to partner with SWC on the important issue of protecting our water quality – and the region’s tourism economy and lifestyle – from invasive mussels and encourages voters to participate in the upcoming referendum.
Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspected invasive species using the provincial “Report Invasives BC” smartphone application (available for download from www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species) or, if invasive mussels are suspected, to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
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 Province of BC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), the Shuswap Watershed Council, and other funders.
To learn more about invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap region, please visit: http://www.columbiashuswapinvasives.org