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Major funding is going into B.C.'s fight against invasive mussels

With boating season on the horizon, B.C. is doing a number of things to up their arsenal in the fight against invasive mussels.

Two new inspection stations have been added and the inspection hours and season have both been extended.

There will also be over double the amount of inspectors compared to last year, as well as an increase in public education, an expansion of scientific lake monitoring and the addition of Canada’s first multi-purpose mussel-sniffing dog.

"Invasive mussels have spread to provinces and states throughout North America - but not yet in B.C., and we're focused on keeping it that way," said Premier Christy Clark. "That's why we're adding more inspection stations, extended hours and staff, and Canada's first multi-purpose mussel-sniffing dog - to protect our most precious resource, our waterways."

The specific details of the additions and expansions include two new border inspection stations at Yahk and Midway, bringing the province’s total number of inspection stations to 10.

B.C.’s busiest inspection station, in Golden, will now be open 24 hours and other stations will have their hours extended.

The inspection season has also been extended and will now last from mid-March until mid-November.

There will also be some jobs created out of these moves, as 35 new inspection officers will be hired, bringing the total number of officers to 68.

All these moves, as well as a few other enhancements to the program, has a price tag of $3 million, which is being provided by the province.

<who>Photo Credit: KelownaNow

"This new funding will help keep invasive mussels out of B.C.'s waterways," said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister and MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thomson. "We can't allow these species to enter our province, due to the negative impacts they could have on infrastructure and on sensitive ecosystems."

One of the most innovative moves to combat the invasive mussel problem is the addition of the country’s first mussel-sniffing dog.

Kilo, a German Shepherd, is currently undergoing training to sniff out mussels, as well as firearms and bear parts, and will start working at high-volume stations on July 1st.

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