Regular testing for invasive substances is carried out at the Sicamous dock

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The municipality of Sicamous has long been lobbying for better measures against invasive mussels, and the Columubia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) is actively monitoring the situation.

In a June 4 post on its website, the district said CSISS had taken the final water samples at the Finlayson Boat Launch to test for any evidence of the destructive zebra or quagga mussels. The samples are then sent to provincial laboratories for testing, with the government determining the frequency of testing of water bodies.

There are currently five sites at Shuswap Lake that are tested biweekly, and two at Lake Mara that are monitored monthly. In its 2023 annual report, CSISS reported 25 sampling locations across 15 water bodies they monitor in the region, with 137 samples collected last year showing no invasive species detected.

In addition to mandatory on-site testing, the province also has watercraft inspection stations along major travel routes and is advocating the Clean, Drain, Dry campaign to help prevent the spread.

“Invasive mussels threaten the quality of our drinking water, our infrastructure and the health of our freshwater systems,” the district said in its post. “These aquatic invasive species cause hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage in North America each year.”

In recent years, the Sicamous City Council has submitted resolutions on invasive mussels to the Southern Interior Local Government Association, and had them ratified over the past two years and in 2021. On May 17, the province passed new Pull the Plug legislation requiring operators to completely drain personal watercraft before transporting them between water bodies.

Additional information about invasives and prevention can be found on the CSISS website at www.columbiashuswapinvasives.org.