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The Government of Canada is investing in research and education to prevent Zebra and Quagga mussels invasion in the Okanagan region

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The Government of Canada is investing in research and education to prevent Zebra and Quagga mussels invasion in the Okanagan region

Canada NewsWire

KELOWNA, BC, Aug. 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Aquatic invasive species pose a threat to Canada's waterways and native species, and have negative economic impacts. The Government of Canada is committed to taking action on aquatic invasive species, including Zebra and Quagga mussels, by investing in the necessary research to understand the threat, and to educate the public on how they can help to prevent the spread.

Today, Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake County, on behalf of the Honorable Jonathan Wilkinson,  Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard,  announced that Simon Fraser University (SFU) will receive $100,000 over four years to conduct research that will help assess the risk of spread and predict the ecological impacts of these non-native mussels in the Okanagan region. With this research, the Okanagan area will be better prepared in case of a mussel invasion and will have the knowledge of where to focus management efforts.

Mr. Fuhr also announced that an additional $400,000 over three years will be invested for education and outreach purposes to complement the current efforts deployed by the Province of British Columbia and other partners within the Okanagan Basin. The Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) will use this funding to create new and updated signage at boat launches, television commercials and informative articles, as well as online resources. These resources will be beneficial in creating consistent messaging across British Columbia.

Zebra and Quagga mussels have not yet been recorded in British Columbia waters, however, this region is at high risk of invasion due to the relative proximity of established populations and the discovery of these mussels on recreational boats intercepted en route to the Okanagan.

Quotes

"Aquatic invasive species pose risk to Canada's waterways and have potential economic impacts. Our Government takes the threat posed by Zebra and Quagga mussels seriously and is committed to preventing these species from spreading and establishing themselves further in our waterways. Today's investment will increase our understanding of these species and inform future management decisions."

Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake County

"Our government is committed to protecting the unique biodiversity and quality of Canadian waters. Through increased education, we can help ensure that boaters can continue to stimulate the economy without putting our ecosystems and infrastructure at risk. My colleague Stephen Fuhr has worked hard to ensure that the right tools are in place in the Okanagan to protect our the local environment from the threat of invasive species."

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

"Co-investigator Jon Moore and I are really excited about this new project.  It's known that zebra mussels have disastrous ecological and economic impacts when they are introduced into new areas.  Our hope is that this new project is going to reveal what the ecological stakes are specifically for the Okanagan region if zebra mussels find their way there, and how we can delay this invasion for as long as possible. "

Dr. Isabelle Côté, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University

"The Canadian Council on Invasive Species is pleased to work in partnership with DFO in launching the Clean Drain Dry program in BC, as the foundation for a nationwide program. Boaters, recreationists and fishers are important partners in protecting local watersheds by ensuring that boats and equipment are free of aquatic invasive species, particularly invasive mussels through implementing Clean Drain and Dry as a standard practice."

Barry Gibbs, Executive Director, The Canadian Council on Invasive Species

Quick Facts

  • Zebra Mussels are found throughout Lake Winnipeg, the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair and the Mississippi river watershed.
  • Quagga Mussels are found in Lake Ontario, Michigan, Huron and Erie. They have also been found in the St. Lawrence River.
  • Established Zebra and Quagga mussels cause high economic impact to recreational boaters, municipal and industrial water supplies, and to power generation infrastructure.Established aquatic invasive species can reduce biodiversity, threaten native species, and degrade water quality and habitats.

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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada

View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2018/06/c5234.html

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