Early Detection Lake Monitoring
Monitoring is critical for early detection of new invasive species incursions in B.C. and is an important first step in the Provincial Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) Plan (PDF). Zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) mussels (hereafter referred to as Dreissenid), are two freshwater invasive species that are not currently found in B.C. but pose significant environmental and economic risks if they were to be introduced. Learn more about zebra and quagga mussels here.
The Province has been conducting early detection lake monitoring for zebra and quagga mussels since 2011. B.C. is one of the many jurisdictions across North America conducting early detection monitoring and active prevention efforts for invasive mussels.
In 2017, 400 samples were collected from 100 lakes throughout B.C. and all samples tested negative for the presence of invasive mussels (see map below). In 2017, samples were collected by ENV and FLNRO regional staff, B.C. Hydro, and the Boundary Invasive Species Society (BISS), Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS), Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS), East Kootenay Invasive Species Society (EKISS), Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS), Northwest Invasive Plant Council (NWIPC), Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) and the Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society (LRISS).
The 2019 British Columbia Dreissenid Mussel Lake Monitoring Field Protocol (PDF) details the provincial protocols used for early detection lake monitoring for invasive mussels. The protocol outlines provincial standards for the collection and preservation of water samples which are then analyzed by a designated lab for the presence of invasive mussel larvae.
In February 2018 the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) announced a new granting program in partnership with the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The granting program is designed to fund community efforts to monitor lakes in BC (using the provincial protocol above) for the presence of invasive freshwater mussels. A total of thirteen grants were approved in 2018 and applications are now being accepted for the 2019 field season. The grant application form and instructions are available on the HCTF website.