Mussel fight gains profile

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has joined forces with Formula 1 Tunnel Boat Racing Team driver Mike McLellan

The fight to keep invasive mussels out of Okanagan lakes has garnered some help.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has joined forces with Formula 1 Tunnel Boat Racing Team driver Mike McLellan to promote the Don’t Move A Mussel campaign.

“This is great news,” said OBWB chairperson Doug Findlater.

“Mike is a high-profile driver on the Formula 1 boat racing circuit in Canada and the U.S., always drawing a crowd, and he has a great understanding of the mussel issue and the need to protect our waters.”

Don’t Move A Mussel is aimed at raising awareness around invasive zebra and quagga mussels and the need to stop them from spreading to the Okanagan.

“After reading about the issue, I knew it was a concern for everyone who uses our lakes, paddle boarders, anyone who pulls an inner-tube off the back of their boat, anglers, beachgoers, just everyone,” said McLellan, who is from Kelowna.

McLellan contacted OBWB and offered to help spread the word.

His boat and the truck he uses to haul it are now decaled with the Don’t Move a Mussel message. He’s also handing out information cards and is talking about the issue with everyone he gets a chance to meet with.

“It’s something we all have to be aware of and be concerned about,” McLellan said.

“This is a really big issue. There is so much at stake. Okanagan Lake is so beautiful, and as far as we know it’s mussel-free, but we have to stay on top of this.  We, as part of the U.S. F1 Tour in 2015, have a unique ability to promote the message and that’s why we reached out to help spread the word.”

According to research conducted for OBWB, a mussel infestation would cost the Okanagan about $43 million a year.

Learn more about mussels and the campaign at www.DontMoveAMussel.ca.

 

Vernon Morning Star