Aerial view of Splash Mob on Kalamalka Lake with sign in middle saying ‘Stop Invasive Mussels.’
A film has been released chronicling an event to raise awareness about the dangers of invasive mussels in the Okanagan.
Filmmaker and local resident Brynne Morrice says over 170 watercraft took part in a Splash Mob in the summer of 2016, forming a big circle on Kalamalka Lake.
The resulting five minute film called “Splash Mob – Protecting Our Freshwater” uses drone footage to document the event.
“I wanted to create a love letter to Kal Lake and the people who care so passionately about it, as I do. Whereas the first film I made was about the fear of these mussels, this new film is meant to be more hopeful. It’s about the actions we can all take to protect our beloved lakes and rivers. I hope people across the Pacific Northwest see this film and are inspired to stand up for their local lake or river. I hope people take this film, make it their own and spread it far and wide to help people learn the habit of ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’. It’s a simple but powerful action that everyone can take to stop zebra and quagga mussels from destroying more lakes and devastating more communities.”
It’s the second film Morrice has made about the danger of zebra and quagga mussels.
“That first film (Mussel Threat) spawned a large campaign, and a lot of people got involved,” says Morrice. “The following summer, we had Splash Mob, and over 170 watercraft formed our big circle on Kalamalka Lake. It was incredible, a much bigger turnout than we had realistically hoped for. We’ve been working behind the scenes since, with hopes of putting together a new film. Last fall, we were very fortunate to receive funding from ‘Vernon’s 100 Men Who Give a Damn’, an amazing group of guys. That funding has allowed us to make a new film.”
Zebra and Quagga mussels first arrived to North America in the Great Lakes in the 1980’s, and they’ve been spreading across the continent ever since. In the east, adult mussels have made it as far as Lake Winnipeg. In the south, adult populations are in Arizona and Utah. In Montana, however, less than a day’s drive from B.C., juvenile mussel larvae have been detected in two reservoirs.
B.C. currently has a boat inspection program in place, with inspection stations operating from April-October at all border crossings. One of those stations, located at Golden on the Trans Canada Highway, is open 24-hours. The other stations, however, only run during daylight hours. Between April 1st and September 23 of this year, 22 mussel-fouled watercraft were intercepted coming into B.C.
In addition to working on his new film, Morrice has been calling on the B.C. government to raise more funds and increase all the inspection stations to 24 hours. “With all those stations closed overnight, it’s a mathematical inevitability that an infested boat is going to come through after hours, launch in B.C. waters, and then it’s game over. Say goodbye to our beaches, our lakeshores, our fish, our clean drinking water, our summer tourism, our property values.”
Morrice has brought forward 3 ways in which the government can raise more money and make all inspection stations 24 hours; a new fee attached to the BC fishing license, a boater registration fee, and a $3/year BC Hydro surcharge.
His full letter to the government, outlining the 3 suggestions, can be read at www.protectourfreshwater.ca/our-letter, and he’s calling on B.C. residents to help him. “I need back up. My voice alone isn’t enough. Please jump on the phone or fire off a quick email and let the Minister know that you support these ideas. They won’t happen if you don’t speak up, and we’ll enter another boating season with an incomplete inspection program. “