Zebra mussels are one of the invasive species the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia wants to stop the spread of. Dave Britton/USFWS

Boaters in B.C. asked to help stop spread of invasive species

Clean Drain Dry signage is displayed at boat launches across the province

As boating season gets underway in B.C., boaters are reminded that they should always clean, drain and dry their boats to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“British Columbia waters are facing growing threats of zebra and quagga mussels, as well as other aquatic invasive species so we all must be vigilant to ensure these invasive species do not get into our lakes, streams and wetlands,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “The Clean Drain Dry program is being piloted in BC by the Invasive Species Council of BC and the Canadian Council on Invasive Species and funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for expansion across Canada to remind boaters that they should always take action before launching into another waterbody to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.”

Aquatic invasive species are non-native species, including plants, animals and molluscs that harm the environment, economy and society. They can damage fisheries, shipping, aquaculture, and tourism, put stress on ecosystem functions, processes, and structures, litter beaches and foul docks and damage hydroelectric and drinking water filtration facilities. There are approximately 133 different aquatic invasive species in British Columbia, many of which continue to spread causing serious damage.

Read More: Invasive Species Council to host agricultural pests workshop in Williams Lake

Invasive species such as zebra mussels attach to boats and trailers and can be spread long distances over land while attached, as well as in ballast water. If zebra and quagga mussels were introduced into BC waters, it would cost about $43 million per year in damages to infrastructure, hydropower facilities, water extraction activities and recreational boaters, besides having significant impacts on native fish stocks.

Clean Drain Dry encourages all British Columbians using waterways, including lakes, rivers, oceans and streams to clean, drain and dry all boats and equipment to help reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms. Users are encouraged to take action by ensuring they:

Clean off all plants, animals and mud from boat and gear.

Drain all water from boat, gear and equipment onto land.

Dry all parts of the boat and gear completely before launching into a new body of water.

Clean Drain Dry signage is displayed at boat launches across BC and informative resources are available to boaters from local organizations and stewardship groups as well as online to help everyone reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms.

Read More: Spread of invasive species in Canada costs billions, changes the environment

To learn more about Clean Drain Dry and preventing the spread of invasive species, visit cleandraindry.ca.

About the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

The Invasive Species Council of BC is dedicated to keeping our landscapes and communities free of invasive species. It provides a coordinated, province-wide approach to reducing the impact of invasive species in BC. ISCBC unites efforts across the province and collaborates with a variety of partners to develop unique solutions for the wide variety of ecosystems across B.C.

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