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.

The Province has been conducting lake monitoring for zebra and quagga mussels since 2011. B.C. is one of the many jurisdictions across North America conducting monitoring and active prevention efforts for invasive mussels. The 2020 British Columbia Dreissenid Mussel Lake Monitoring Field Protocol (coming soon) 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 grant 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. All sampling is conducted following the provincial lake monitoring field protocol (see above) and samples are sent to a designated lab for analysis.

In 2019 a total of 12 grants were administered by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation with funding provided by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the collection of water samples and deployment of substrate samplers. The grant recipients were: Boundary Invasive Species Society (BISS), Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS), Coastal Invasive Species Committee, Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS), East Kootenay Invasive Species Society (EKISS), Fraser Valley Invasive Species Society (FVISS), Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society and Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OASISS), Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC), Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (ISCBC), Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and the Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society (LRISS). Samples were also collected by ENV and FLNRORD regional staff, and BC Hydro. Over 800 samples were collected from lakes throughout BC (see map below) in 2019 and all samples tested negative for the presence of invasive mussels. 

2019 Invasive Mussel Lake Monitoring