The Okanagan Basin water Board is hoping the province will invest some of its surplus into invasive mussel protection.
The board’s new chair — Kelowna councillor Tracy Gray — says the situation is getting more serious with the discovery of mussels in Montana, just a few hours drive from BC.
The board wants to see funding in today’s budget for an expanded inspection and decontamination program.
They’re also calling for legislation to require all watercraft entering BC to report to an inspection station, prior to launching in provincial waters.
“Prevention now will be far more cost-effective than dealing with a wide spread infestation,” says Gray.
In 2016, the eight provincial inspection stations were funded through BC Hydro, FortisBC, Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust.
“In the case of the province, we need assurances that there is ongoing funding for mussel prevention and defence, should an infestation occur,” adds Gray, who takes over as chair from West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater.