Inspection stations throughout the province are now open to prevent harmful zebra and quagga mussels from hitching a ride on a boat into Okanagan waters.
From now until late October, inspectors with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service will check boats for the invasive species.
They’ll have the help of two detection dogs, Kilo and Major.
However, because of the pandemic, the province is reminding people that now is not the time for non-essential travel.
“We recognize people are eager to get outside and many are ready to head to their favourite lake, but we need to avoid non-essential travel during these unprecedented times and stay close to home,” Environment Minister George Heyman said in a news release.
There have been no reports of quagga and zebra mussels so far in B.C.’s waters, and due to travel restrictions, the risk this summer is expected to be lower, according to the province.
However, last year, 22 mussel-fouled boats coming from Ontario, Michigan, Utah and North Carolina and heading for B.C.’s waters were detected.
The province said more than 52,000 inspections were conducted.
Mussels have already invaded the waters of dozens of U.S. states, as well as Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Zebra and quagga mussels can infest lakes at an astonishing rate. A single female can produce more than one million eggs a year.
If invasive mussels are able to take hold in the province’s waterways, the economic impact is expected to cost millions of dollars.