The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is bringing mosquito control back to Scotch Creek this summer with the support of the Little Shuswap Lake Band.
On Monday, Jan. 16, the regional district announced it is working with BC Parks and the Skw’lax te Secwepemcúl̓ecw (Little Shuswap Lake Band) on a plan to restart the mosquito control program in the Scotch Creek area in 2023.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) suspended the program for Scotch Creek in March 2022. This was in response to a letter from the band, which stated its new chief and council were opposed to any further larvacidal spraying within the Scotch Creek Indian Reserve. The letter explained council was of the position that research was lacking with regard to the environmental risks associated with the method of mosquito control used by the CSRD.
In response, the CSRD said the program, which involves the use of Aquabac, a larvacide containing Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis), would not be effective if the areas of nuisance mosquito breeding habitat on band lands and at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park were removed.
The regional district describes Aquabac/Bti as a soil-borne bacterial product that specifically targets mosquitoes in their larval growth stage before they hatch. The use of Aquabac is regulated by the Federal Government.
In a Jan. 16, 2022 media release, the CSRD said it partnered with the band to cover the cost of an independent study conducted by Simon Fraser University. Led by the band, the study concluded there were no adverse impacts of Aquabac on fish or their habitat.
“Based on the conclusions of the independent research, the Skw’lax te Secwepemcúl̓ecw, who are the original land title holders and stewards of our land, are pleased that the Aquabac treatments are not harming fish, or their habitat, and we are now willing to move forward with the nuisance mosquito program on a one-year basis,” said Kukpi7 James Tomma.
The purpose of the one-year basis is to allow for testing on amphibians during the 2023 season. Based on test results, the program will be re-evaluated and long-term agreements may be negotiated, said the CSRD.
BC Parks is also on board with the mosquito control plan and issued a letter of authorization for the treatment of habitat in Shuswap Lake Provincial Park between April and August 2023.
Last summer, responding to a barrage of complaints that included people publicly warning others to not vacation in Scotch Creek due to the mosquitoes, the CSRD issued a media release explaining why the program had been cancelled for 2023.
Electoral Area F director Jay Simpson is thrilled the mosquito control program is returning for summer 2023.
“The mosquito issue can make it almost unbearable to enjoy this beautiful area of the Shuswap,” said Simpson. “By working together with the Skw’lax te Secwepemcúl̓ecw, we will have a program for the coming year that is safe, effective and we hope to be sustainable into the future.”
The CSRD will provide an update on the resumption of the mosquito control program once further details are available.
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