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8 permanent mussel inspection stations being set up in B.C.

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8 permanent mussel inspection stations being set up in B.C – Mar 30, 2016

WEST KELOWNA — Eight permanent mussel inspection stations will soon be up and running in B.C.

The stations will be set up in Penticton, Cranbrook, the Lower Mainland, Invermere, Golden, Valemount, Nelson and Dawson Creek and open April 1. The stations with operate ten hours a day, seven days a week April through October.

“B.C. is leading the fight against invasive species,” said premier Christy Clark. “To date, no zebra or quagga mussels have ever been detected in B.C.’s waterways and we’re going to keep it that way.”

“Eight more inspection stations are yet another tool towards ensuring we remain mussel-free.”

A $2 million boost from BC Hydro, FortisBC, Columbia Power and the Columbia Basin Trust is helping fund the stations.

“Invasive mussels are a concern to BC Hydro and we applaud the Province for taking strong measures to protect B.C.’s rivers and lakes,” said Mark Poweska, vice president, Generation BC Hydro. “BC Hydro is proud to support this initiative since invasive mussels have a detrimental impact on the environment and can impact our ability to produce power by plugging up pipes and equipment in our dams.”

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The announcement comes a year after the province pledged $1.3 million into preventative programs aimed at catching the invasive species so they don’t get introduced into our waterways.

READ MORE: B.C. launches fight against invasive mussels

The money was used to set up roving inspection sites and launch education programs.

READ MORE: Inspection catches dead invasive mussels in B.C.

Once introduced into waterways, invasive mussels are nearly impossible to eradicate. Manitoba is proof positive, as mussels have completely taken over Lake Winnipeg.

“We saw this coming for years but didn’t adequately put in the resources,” said Dr. Eva Pip, a water quality and ecosystem expert with the University of Winnipeg. “The problem is irreversible and in fact it’s a catastrophe, it’s a disaster.”

“It’s very sad because all we have to look forward to now in Lake Winnipeg is a complete and eventual collapse of our ecosystem.”

READ MORE: Lake Winnipeg is a lost cause due to zebra mussels: expert

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) called on the province to implement permanent inspection stations last summer.

READ MORE: Water Board wants permanent inspection stations for invasive mussels

If the mussels did spread to the Okanagan, the OBWB believes the local cost could be over $43-million annually.

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