CKISS staff conducting a shore line survey looking for Asian clams. (Photo from CKISS)

CKISS staff conducting a shore line survey looking for Asian clams. (Photo from CKISS)

Volunteers needed to help protect Kootenay Lake from aquatic invasive species

A new community science monitoring initiative has been launched by CKISS

From Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society

Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) is seeking volunteers to join the fight against aquatic invasive species in the Central Kootenay region.

“Volunteers play a vital role at CKISS, we are always happy to receive a helping hand in collecting data that will support local conservation issues”, states Laurie Frankcom, education program co-ordinator CKISS.

A new community science monitoring initiative has been launched by CKISS with support from the Living Lakes Canada’s National Lake Blitz program in 2022 with the goal to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive mussels, clams and plants into Kootenay Lake and beyond.

The organization is currently seeking community members who own private docks in Area A, D, and E of Kootenay Lake to help monitor for invasive zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and Dresissena bugenis). Volunteers will receive two assembled mussel monitors to attach to their docks and be required to check them throughout the summer and fall of 2022.

Early detection of invasive mussels is critical because they have negative impacts on biodiversity, water quality, recreation, fisheries and species at risk. The mussels can damage infrastructure such as lakefront property, hydropower facilities and municipal water supply facilities.

In addition, the CKISS is seeking volunteers who are interested in learning to identify and prevent aquatic invasive species, such as Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) and invasive plants, like yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus). and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) through shoreline surveys on Kootenay Lake. Positions will run during the fall of 2022.

Asian clams are a concern because they can clog water treatment systems, contaminate drinking water, and negatively alter aquatic ecosystems by competing with native species for food and habitat. Invasive plants like yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife can reduce biodiversity. They lack natural predators and can out compete native species for space and resources.

CKISS will offer training, resources and equipment for all the volunteers, all they ask is that you sign up by visiting ckiss.ca/action/volunteer.

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