Response Statement - Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel
This mussel, one of only a few species of freshwater mussel in British Columbia, is restricted in Canada to the Okanagan basin. Historically, channelization and water regulation in the Okanagan River have affected mussel beds and caused population reduction. Additional sites have been found since the original COSEWIC assessment (2003). Currently, Zebra and Quagga (dreissenid) Mussels are the most serious potential threat to the native mussel. Dreissenid mussels have had devastating effects on native unionid communities elsewhere, such as in the Great Lakes region. A recent assessment of the sensitivity of the Okanagan basin to dreissenid mussels demonstrated that the latter could spread quickly and establish intense infestation on native mussels once introduced. Within the foreseeable future, the introduction of dreissenids into the Okanagan basin is likely because they can survive for days out of water and are known to be transported between water bodies on trailered watercrafts; dreissenid mussels have been intercepted on trailered boats heading to British Columbia in recent years. Ongoing foreshore and riparian development, and some methods of control of invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil reduces habitat and affects water quality.
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