Help save Kootenay Lake, don’t move a mussel

Help protect Kootenay Lake from invasive mussel species.

  • Mar. 23, 2016 9:00 a.m.

The Zebra Mussel, although small, is a major concern for Kootenay Lake. This mussel and the Quagga mussel are both freshwater bivalves, native to the Black-sea Region of Eurasia. They were introduced into the Great Lakes from transoceanic ships that discharged their ballasts in the 1980s.

Both Zebra and Quagga mussels have light and dark alternating stripes, hence the name Zebra Mussel. The female mussel of each family can produce an average of one million eggs each year.

These mussels have spread from the Great Lakes and are now in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba and have infested 24 American States.

Some of the implications that will occur if this mussel infests Kootenay lake are:


1. They become so thick that they clog distribution systems for drinking water.

2. They impact fish and wildlife by increasing toxic algae blooms.

3. They ruin beaches.

4. Real estate values, especially lake front, fall.

5. Tourism to the area diminishes.



All watercraft users must clean off all plants, mud, and crustaceans. Drain watercraft on dry land away from the lake, this includes ballasts, wells, and any implement that holds water. Dry all items completely, let dry at least five days in the sun, if possible.

At present, the south arm of Kootenay Lake is being monitored by The East Shore Fresh Water Habitat Society in conjunction with Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society. To join this group and be a part of protecting our lake, email mike.ivy@hotmail.comor phone Mike or Ivy Jeffery at 250 227-6807.

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