Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are any aquatic organism that has been introduced and become a threat to an aquatic ecosystem (ocean, lake, river, or stream) to which they are not native. An introduced species is considered ‘invasive’ if it subsequently grows in numbers, spreads to new areas and causes some impact on either the native ecosystem, human health or the economy. AIS can be introduced accidentally, intentionally or illegally (unauthorized), and can threaten the environment, economy, and society, including human health. (Source: Department of Fisheries and Oceans)

Aquatic invasive species are non-native plants, fish, and mollusks that have the potential to harm the environment, economy and society.
Once established, aquatic invasive species are some of the most difficult to control and manage, due to sensitive wetland ecosystems – prevention is critical!
There are approximately 133 different aquatic invasive species in British Columbia, many of which continue to spread causing serious damage, such as clogging waterways, reducing habitat, outcompeting native fish and wildlife populations, and impacting recreation, fishing and swimming.

These include:

  • Eurasian water milfoil
  • Yellow flag iris
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Largemouth bass
  • Northern pike
  • American bullfrog

Quagga and zebra mussels are a High Alert species in BC. They have invaded the Great Lakes, causing significant economic and environmental damage through their ability to spread rapidly and establish in underwater infrastructure such as hydroelectric intakes and irrigation pipes. For more information on recognizing and reporting nvasives in BC, see bcinvasives.ca

Newsflash

Invasive Mussels Discovered in Montana, near Shelby

Invasive Mussel Detection Changes ‘Mussel Map’ … changes level and vectors of risk.

Priority Threats

Province of British Columbia Conservation Officers are operating several roving boat inspection stations on the highways in British Columbia.
This spring, infested watercraft have been found entering BC, and many more potentially infested watercraft have been quarantined.
Stops are required with any watercraft including SUPs, kayaks and canoes.CDD-homepage-flash-module

With invasive mussels now established in Lake Winnipeg and many prairie waterways, and to the south of us in Arizona, California and throughout the midwest, our ‘buffer zone’ is growing smaller.

Please consider renting a watercraft outside of British Columbia instead of travelling with yours.

Many invasive plants have significant watershed effects. Animal invasives such as the American Bullfrog could decimate local ecologies.

The Provincial Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group provides updates on control information.

Update from Watercraft Inspections:

As of July 27th 2016 just over 12,900 watercraft have been inspected and the inspection crews have interacted with approximately 25,900 people to promote the message of Clean, Drain, Dry and Aquatic Invasive Species. Of the total watercraft inspected 439 have been identified as coming from a high risk province or state. Of the total watercraft inspected 9 were confirmed to have adult invasive mussels and all 9 of these watercraft were coming from Ontario.
A total of 67 decontamination orders have been issued of which 50 had quarantine periods to meet the 30 day required drying time. A total of 36 tickets and 27 warnings have been issued to motorists for failing to stop at a watercraft inspection station. To date a total of 235 people without boats have voluntarily stopped at the watercraft inspection stations to get more information about Invasive Mussels and other Aquatic Invasive Species.

 

Volunteer Opportunities and Regional Information and Events

In the Revelstoke Area, your regional committee is the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society
In the West Kootenays, watch for Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society
In the East Kootenays, the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council is your regional organization.
North of Revelstoke, contact the NorthWest Invasive Plants Council.

 

Provincial Resources

To report invasive species there are several options:
All species:

– See more at: http://bcinvasives.ca/report/#sthash.f0RK2BjW.dpuf

Call ISCBC at 1-888-933-3722 – we can link you with your Regional Committee;
Take a photo and email us at info@bcinvasives.ca

Plants
:
Report-A-Weed – The Province’s Report-a-Weed-wizard takes you through 3 easy steps to report a suspected new sighting of an invasive plant species in BC. You can also report a weed using the smartphone app for iPhone or Android.
Join the Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP)

Animals
Report an Invasive Animal Species to the BC Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group (IMISWG). All submissions will be directed to the provincial specialist for the respective species.
Report ALL sightings of invasive mussels to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (RAPP): 1-877-952-7277