Keeping watch for mussels

Castanet – August 2, 2019

A project is being launched for citizens to help monitor for invasive mussels in Okanagan area lakes.

The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) is seeking community members who own private docks on Kalamalka, Wood, Okanagan, Skaha and Osoyoos lakes to participate in monitoring for the non-native zebra and quagga mussels.

This project is the first of its kind in the province, and will allow community members to be more actively involved in protecting Okanagan lakes from the invasive mussel threat.

Participants will be provided with a pair of mussel monitors to be attached to their private docks which they will be required to check every two weeks throughout the summer.

“Our society has been checking for invasive mussels for seven years, however, this initiative will greatly expand our efforts to regions of the lakes that were previously inaccessible,” said Lisa Scott, executive director of OASISS. “Not only will we be able to improve the quantity of our data, but we will also be able to involve the community in an environmental cause that many feel passionate about.”

Invasive mussels were introduced from Eastern Europe and Western Russia to the Great Lakes Region in the 1980s, and since then have spread into lakes around North America, primarily by contaminated watercraft.

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