Invasive Species Alert

Waterbodies closed in two BC national parks due to whirling disease

Photo Taken By Sascha Hallett
Alert Date:Posted on

All waterbodies in British Columbia’s Kootenay and Yoho national parks are being closed in response to the invasive whirling disease parasite. The closures are an extension of those put in place when whirling disease was detected in Yoho’s Emerald Lake last fall. The waterbodies will be closed until at least March 2025.

If introduced to the Okanagan, whirling disease could decimate populations of rainbow trout and sockeye salmon. Once established, there is no treatment. Previous efforts to prevent the spread have included draining infected lakes and removing and killing all fish. This would negatively impact local fishers, indigenous groups and ecosystems.

Non-motorized watercraft are also being banned from Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. This is due to the threat of both whirling disease and invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

Invasive mussels pose a serious threat to the Okanagan’s aquatic ecosystems. If introduced to the Okanagan, they would impact recreation, tourism, hydropower, agricultural infrastructure and fisheries.

Here’s what you can do to help prevent the spread of whirling disease and invasive mussels into our lakes:

  • Be aware of restrictions and avoid contaminated waterbodies
  • CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY all watercraft and gear before entering any new body of water

To read the full article, click here.

For more information on how to Clean, Drain, Dry, click here.