Inspections look for mussels

Mandatory inspection stations are imperative in keeping Christina Lake clean and mussel free.

(From left) Harry Grewal and Spencer Boleak of Canadian Border Services Agency

By Holly Heximer, Christina Lake Stewardship Society

New federal legislation has allowed collaboration between Canadian Border Services Agency, Ministry of Environment  Junior Compliance and Enforcement Officers, and the Christina Lake Stewardship Society to protect B.C.’s freshwater from Quagga and Zebra Mussels.

The stewardship society (CLSS) is moving into its eighth year of monitoring for these invasive mussels with substrate samplers at five high-risk locations around the lake. It is the second year of additional monitoring with plankton haul nets and third year of an educational program.

The new Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations allows the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to inspect boats, and could deny entry into Canada if there is presence of Quagga and Zebra mussels or other species listed in Part 1 of the schedule of AIS regulations.

There are three roving Ministry of Environment Compliance and Enforcement Crews in B.C., with one crew based out of Nelson who could respond to any boats infested with mussels found at the borders, and decontaminate these watercrafts. This is a huge and crucial step in keeping B.C.’s freshwater mussel free, declared the stewardship society.

CLSS was invited to bring educational materials to a mandatory boat inspection station held at the Cascade Border Crossing on June 26. These mandatory inspection stations are a great way to educate the public on aquatic invasive species, as they are in high traffic areas; they often raise curiosity and questions so this provides an opportunity for public education.

In partnership with Minstry of Environment Compliance and Enforcement Officers, CLSS will be hosting a mandatory inspection station during Christina Lake Homecoming on July 10 at the Christina Frontage Road by the Ice Creamery.

They will have their decontamination equipment, and will be encouraging proper “Clean, Drain, Dry” techniques.

Mandatory inspection stations are imperative in keeping Christina Lake clean and mussel free; if the invasive mussels were to get into the lake the impact to the ecosystem and the local tourism industry would be devastating for Christina Lake.