CSISS wraps up invasive mussel sampling for 2019

No mussels found so far

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BC Parks and CSISS staff team up to access invasive mussel sampling sites on the Shuswap Lake. Photo: CSISS

Submitted by CSISS

No invasive mussels were found in the Columbia Shuswap region over the summer.

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) sampled across the region this summer in the search for invasive mussels (Zebra and Quagga mussels). So far, the society says it has not found any. Invasive mussels could severely impact enjoyment of lakes and rivers, damage native ecosystems, and cost millions annually in management if they ever got into BC. waters.

CSISS deployed 16 substrate samplers (for detecting invasive adult mussels) in 11 waterbodies, and took 139 plankton samples (for detecting free-swimming mussel larvae, or veligers) from nine waterbodies, at 27 different sites.

“We were fortunate enough to get funding and support from several agencies this year,” said Sue Davies, who heads the aquatic sampling project for CSISS. “The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) oversees the invasive mussel lake monitoring program and provides protocols and a ranking system to prioritize sampling efforts across BC. The Province provides funding through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) for the collection of water samples. This funded around three quarters of the CSISS program this year.”

CSISS also received significant funding from the Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) and the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), which enabled the project to be extended and for aquatic invasive species outreach and prevention work. Added to that, both the Ministry of Environment and BC Parks helped with boat access to some sites this year, including the Cinnemousun Narrows.

“The Narrows is a really important place to sample because the water from literally half of the Shuswap Lake flows through that one narrow strait, and it also tends to eddy in one particular spot. Sampling the plankton there is one of the best sites on the lake to catch a floating mussel veliger, and we are thankful to BC Parks and ENV staff for their help in accessing this important sampling site on 9 separate occasions this summer,” said Davies.

“Finding the microscopic larvae of invasive mussels in any lake, especially one the size and shape of the Shuswap lake, is challenging to say the least, but the more sites we have and the more samples per site certainly helps.  The HCTF, SWC and CBT funding, and the logistical support from BC Parks and ENV staff enabled a very robust sampling plan this year.”

So far, all the adult mussel substrate samplers have had their final check and have been retrieved. Fortunately, the substrate samplers were all free of invasive mussels and all of the plankton samples analyzed so far this year have been free of invasive mussels. Follow us on Facebook for more updates when the final analysis for the region and province are complete.

To prevent the spread of invasive species of all types, always Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat when moving it between water bodies. If you are bringing a boat to BC, to prevent mussels hitching a ride please visit Bringing Your Boat to BC.