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West Kootenay waterbodies remain free of invasive mussels

265 samples were taken from area lakes and rivers
CKISS staff collected a sample on Arrow Lake to monitor for the presence of invasive freshwater mussels. Photo: CKISS

For the 10th year in a row, waterbodies in the West Kootenay have tested negative for invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

Between mid-June and the end of October the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) collected 265 samples from Upper and Lower Arrow, Kootenay, Duncan, Slocan, Summit, and Whatshan Lakes, and Columbia, Kootenay, and Slocan Rivers (upper and lower).

All samples tested negative for the presence of these invasive mussels.

“This is good news considering invasive mussels may be impossible to eradicate once established in a waterbody,” CKISS said in a statement. “The introduction of zebra and quagga mussels (ZQM) could have devastating environmental, economic, and social impacts in the Kootenay region and other regions in B.C.”

ZQM can displace native aquatic plants and wildlife, reducing biodiversity and ecosystem health. Invasive mussels can also cover beaches in foul-smelling, razor-sharp shells.

ZQM are unique because they have the ability to attach to hard surfaces and can survive for multiple weeks out of the water. These characteristics mean they can easily be moved between waterbodies, which emphasizes the need to clean, drain and dry boat, watercraft and equipment when exiting all waterbodies.

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CKISS stresses the need to take action through prevention to protect waters as there is no turning back the clock on a zebra and quagga mussel invasion.

If you are bringing a watercraft into B.C., please contact the B.C. Invasive Mussel Defence Program ( to determine if your boat is high-risk and should be inspected and potentially decontaminated before accessing B.C.’s lakes and rivers.

CKISS programs are supported by the Columbia Basin Trust, the Province of B.C., the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Watershed Network (through funding provided by Lush Cosmetics).

For more information about the B.C. Invasive Mussel Defence Program, visit

For more information about the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, visit

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About the Author: Castlegar News Staff

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