Reprieve for our beaches?

Castanet – August 15, 2019

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is cheering a decision that has delayed reclassifying a threatened mussel found in the Okanagan as endangered.

The federal Ministry of Fisheries announced Thursday more study is needed before the Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel can be reclassified under the Species at Risk Act. 

The water board is now renewing its calls to allow the rototilling of invasive milfoil weeds at public beaches and boating areas.

“We are very pleased with this decision. It allows more flexibility for us to manage invasive milfoil, keep the beaches clean, and protect water quality” said Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of the OBWB. 

“Milfoil degrades the environment for all species, as well as the public’s access to the lake. Now we just need the province to renew our permit to operate in our historical treatment areas. We understand that this is within the discretion of the B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.”

For years the board’s rototillers have avoided areas where the Rocky Mountain ridged mussel — listed as a “special concern” under the federal Species at Risk Act — had been found.  The mussel is native to the Okanagan and is found nowhere else in Canada.

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