Examples of an invasive clam have been located at a Shuswap Lake beach.
According to the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS), shells found on a beach last fall belong to invasive Asian clams. No live clams have been found.
Sue Davies, CSISS’ aquatic co-ordinator, said monitoring continues. Populations of the invasive clams already exist in several Lower Mainland lakes and large parts of Washington State.
In addition to having negative impacts on biodiversity and native species, dense populations of the clams can clog filters on hydro systems and water pipes, imposing costly maintenance.
Members of the public who find any further examples of the clams are asked to report through the B.C. government’s Report Invasives BC app, available for download at www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species.
CSISS has been monitoring lakes in the region for invasive species as part of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s provincial lake monitoring program. To date, none of the samples from Shuswap Lake have come back positive for Asian clam larvae. As the clams are self-fertile, a single clam can start an infestation.
The appearance of the clam shells further solidifies the importance of boats being cleaned, drained and dried before they are moved between lakes.
“It’s possible that Asian clams came to the Shuswap as fishing bait, as live food, or accidentally inside a watercraft,” Davies said. “It is super important not to transport invasive species. Never release live animals or plants into waterways, and remember to clean, drain and dry your watercraft when moving it between water bodies.”
Davies recommends boaters and anglers be careful about removing mud and plants from their boats and other aquatic gear, and also drain compartments and mop up standing water before moving boats into a new body of water.