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 2018, over 800 samples were collected from lakes throughout B.C. and all samples tested negative for the presence of invasive mussels (see map below). In 2018, samples were collected by ENV and FLNRO regional staff, BC Hydro, 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), Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society (LRISS), Upper Fraser Conservation Alliance, Fraser Valley Invasive Species Society, Invasive Species Council of BC, and the Skeena Fisheries Commission.
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 B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The granting program is designed to fund community efforts to monitor lakes in B.C. (using the provincial protocol above) for the presence of invasive freshwater mussels. A total of thirteen grants were approved in 2018 and applications have been accepted for the 2019 field season. Additional information on the granting program is available on the HCTF website.