CKISS Aquatics Program Coordinator Khaylish Fraser uses a plankton net on the Pend d’Oreille River to collect samples that get sent to a provincial lab for testing. The lab will test for free-swimming microscopic mussel larvae, called veligers. (Photo by CKISS)

CKISS Aquatics Program Coordinator Khaylish Fraser uses a plankton net on the Pend d’Oreille River to collect samples that get sent to a provincial lab for testing. The lab will test for free-swimming microscopic mussel larvae, called veligers. (Photo by CKISS)

Society monitors West Kootenay waters for invasive mussels

Invasive species society is making sure Kootenay waters stay free of quagga and zebra mussels

The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) continues to monitor local lakes and rivers for destructive zebra and quagga mussels.

Zebra and quagga mussels (ZQM) pose a major threat to BC waters. In other parts of North America, these mussels have caused considerable damage to hydropower stations, and municipal water supplies.

The mussels can also have impacts on biodiversity, water quality, recreation, fisheries and species at risk.

CKISS staff started to monitor local lakes and rivers for ZQM on June 9, including Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes, the Columbia, Pend d’Oreille, Kootenay and Slocan Rivers, and Kootenay, Slocan, Whatshan and Summit Lakes.

So far, CKISS has collected 90 plankton samples from ten waterbodies. CKISS monitoring efforts are part of the provincial Invasive Mussel Defence Program, which aims to prevent the introduction of ZQM into B.C.

To date, B.C. is still free of these invasive mussels.

CKISS is asking residents to help prevent the introduction of invasive mussels by practicing to clean, drain and dry watercraft and equipment.

“If you are transporting a watercraft in B.C. it is mandatory to stop at all watercraft inspection stations along your route,” read a release from Laurie Frankcom, CKISS education coordinator.

Any suspected invasive mussels should be reported immediately to the Conservation Officer Services Report All Poachers and Polluters: 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

Any invasive species sightings in B.C. should be reported using the Report-Invasives B.C. apps for iPhone and iPad or Android.

For more information on CKISS, contact Frankcom at 844.352.1160 ext. 208 or lfrankcom@ckiss.ca

CKISS is a non-profit society that delivers education and awareness programs, and promotes coordinated management efforts of invasive species in the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area A and B.

Read: Clearing out invasive species in the Kootenays