Forget about the zombies – the mussels are really coming!
We know this because every since zebra and quagga mussels were introduced into the North American ecosystem in the 1980’s they have been spreading across the continent.
They do incredible damage to both native species and to infrastructure. They disrupt the food chain and they have no natural predators in North America. They grow in colonies that can clog industrial pipes leading into lakes.
Until this month there was no known way to get rid of them. But a U.S. engineering firm has eradicated an infestation of zebra mussels from a quarry in Virginia in what is believed to be the first extermination of the invasive species in the wild.
Mind you it took three weeks, thousands of gallons of potassium chloride and somewhere around $365,000 US to do it. You have to wonder what the effect was on the native species.
So prevention seems to be the key here. In December 2012 BC law changed so that no invasive zebra or quagga mussel, alive or dead, is allowed to remain on boats or related equipment. Failure to clean mussels off boats or equipment could result in a fine of up to $100,000.
But deterrent is only effective if it is made known.
Enter the Clean, Drain, Dry education initiative that is being spearheaded locally by the Boundary Invasive Species Society (BISS) and the Christina lake Stewardship Society.
If you are a boater or rafter please get educated about the threat from these invasive species.
If you have any ideas that might help spread the word – for instance, if you might like to put up a rack with educational pamphlets, then get in touch with Barb Stewart at BISS — 250-446-2232 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.