BCLSS Projects

Individual & Collaborative Endeavours

We Are Proud of Our Projects

Working with local community organizations, residents and other non-profit societies, the BCLSS has undertaken multiple projects to improve lakes and lake shore ecology throughout British Columbia.  Through innovative initiatives, including the BC Lake Stewardship and Mentoring Program and the LakeKeepers Manual project, we are proud to be leading the way to clean, sustainable lakes for our beautiful province.

LakeKeepers

The BCLSS LakeKeepers committee have created the LakeKeepers manual, a lakeshore resident’s guide to the stewardship and monitoring of lakes.

Past Projects

For nearly two decades, the BCLSS has taken the lead in restoring multiple lake sites and shorelines, including Christina Lake, the Okanagan Lake Foreshore and Bertram Creek Park.

BCLSMP

The BCLSS developed the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program to allow for greater collaboration with our volunteer groups and individuals.

LakeKeepers Workshops

Since 2009, the BCLSS has offered LakeKeepers workshops that provide training and support as it relates to lake stewardship with an emphasis on lake water quality monitoring and aquatic plant surveying.  Seventeen workshops have been offered since the program’s inception and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has provided a PCAF grant so that the BCLSS can offer an additional three workshops in the coming year.

The BCLSS offers LakeKeepers training courses throughout the province based on demand by BCLSS members, regional district and municipal staff, and the general public. Course participants will gain a greater understanding of lake management, which will translate to an increased ability to take care of their lakes through better knowledge of watershed and land-use impacts, lake ecology, and limnology (the study of freshwater).  Regionally based LakeKeepers courses will also create peer-to-peer learning opportunities through networking and will address specific issues and concerns from each local area by offering optional modules for selection by course participants. 

Through LakeKeepers, the BCLSS will continue to facilitate information sharing throughout the BC water community by encouraging collaboration and connections of our member groups, partner organizations, and other interested parties wherever possible, and by sharing details of current and future projects, and past successes of our member groups through our website, social media, quarterly newsletters and e-newsletters.

LakeKeepers Training & Support

With funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and the Ministry of Environment, the BCLSS was able to provide an enhanced LakeKeepers program entitled LakeKeepers Training and Support which provided additional training and support to lake stewardship groups.

In cooperation with the Stewardship Centre of BC, the BCLSS developed a new module for the LakeKeepers course based on shoreline protection and land-use impacts.  In addition, the BCLSS collaborated with lake stewardship groups from within BC and conducted aquatic plant survey programs based on local interest.  The survey program encourages best land use practices by teaching landowners about nutrient inputs and the relation to aquatic plant abundance. 

Through this program, the BCLSS facilitated continued network-building to assist volunteers to maintain capacity to continue with their stewardship initiatives. Course attendees were provided with follow up webinars on key topics discussed in the LakeKeepers Courses, such as riparian area care, lake monitoring and forming stewardship groups.

LakeKeepers Manual

The BCLSS LakeKeepers committee have created the LakeKeepers manual, a lakeshore resident’s guide to the stewardship and monitoring of lakes.  The LakeKeepers committee is finalizing a sixth chapter dealing with Aquatic Plants and plans to have the reprinted manual available soon.

Anyone concerned or even curious about lakes in BC will find this manual useful and informative. The manual provides insight to the fascinating nature of lakes, and helps readers understand basic lake function. This is especially important for individuals who wish to play an active role in managing the health of those lakes in which they are interested.

LAKEKEEPER MANUAL CHAPTER SYNOPSES

Chapter One “Getting Started” briefly describes some of the aspects of lake stewardship, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. It introduces involvement in stewardship through citizen advocacy and monitoring, and how to create stewardship groups. It also provides information about other lake stewardship groups currently active in British Columbia.

Chapter Two “Organising a Stewardship Group” goes into more detail on organisational structure: how to find a good mix of members, what type of group may best match your interests, facilitating meetings, goal and action planning, fundraising, and how to use media and government agencies effectively.

Chapter Three “An Introduction to Lakes” introduces you to some of technical and scientific aspects of limnology by discussing first the physical characteristics of lake water, namely temperature and oxygen, followed by discussions of nutrient dynamics and biological production. Here too, the element of human impact on lakes is introduced.

With your initial understanding of lake ecology in place and with your willingness to become volunteers, it’s time to learn what is actually happening on that lake you’re interested in.

Chapter Four “Developing a Lake Sampling Program” provides instruction on how to sample lakes. You will learn some of the where, when, and how’s of developing and carrying out an effective program that can provide you with the information necessary to understand specific lakes and to participate
in effective lake management. 

The question of “what” to sample is a considerable one. It will be specific to each lake and water quality issue.

Chapter Five “Water Quality Parameters” covers this topic for the issue of most concern – nutrient pollution and lake eutrophication.

A few of the many appendices included in the manual are: “Quick Guide to Proposal Writing”, “Field Forms and Sampling Instructions”, Examples of Proposals and Media Releases, General Educational Material on Lake Water
Quality and Lake Stewardship, the booklet “Stewardship Options for Private Land Owners in British Columbia”, and much more.

Request a LakeKeepers Manual

BCLSMP

BC LAKE STEWARDSHIP AND MONITORING PROGRAM

With government funding for environmental programs in decline, there is more reliance on individuals and groups throughout the province to take on a greater role in stewardship activities, environmental monitoring, and water quality management. Collection of lake data by volunteers is extremely important for the protection of lake water quality as it helps establish a strong baseline of data that allows for lake health to be determined, monitored and managed over time. Good water quality is important to aquatic life and wildlife that rely on lakes for food and habitat, and to people, who use lakes for drinking water, fishing, boating, swimming, other recreational uses and aesthetic purposes.

The BCLSS recognizes the importance of volunteers and, through our program, will help individuals and local groups take on a greater role in lake stewardship activities throughout BC.

In the spring of 2003, the BCLSS launched a province-wide program in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) entitled: The BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program (BCLSMP). The program has been a great success and surpassed many of the deliverables set out in the original program. The BC Ministry of Environment has generously funded the BCLSMP from 2003 to 2013. As well, the Vancouver Foundation has provided a grant for 2006-2007. With this financial assistance the BCLSS has been able to continue to implement and expand the program. Planned expansions to the program include the development of more in-depth training courses as well as an aquatic plant survey program.

Under the BCLSMP, BCLSS staff train volunteers and provide them with equipment and support to facilitate the collection of water quality data and observations from lakes in BC. The objectives of this program are to:

  1. Strengthen the volunteer stewardship sector in British Columbia by increasing the level of awareness of the importance and value of volunteer lake monitoring and environmental stewardship.
  2. Provide LakeKeepers training in nine regions of BC.
  3. Expand BC’s participation in the Great North American Secchi Dip-in, to raise awareness of lake monitoring and increase the collection of data.
  4. Monitor and report on 10 new lakes per year, with representation from all of BC’s physiographic regions and as many biogeoclimatic zones as possible.
  5. Produce lake-specific reports for 5-10 new lakes per year.

This program is unique in that it gives dedicated volunteers the knowledge and tools to become stewards of their favourite lake, which, in turn, means healthier, better-managed lakes in British Columbia. It also includes community-based involvement and extensive collaboration efforts.

LEVELS OF MONITORING

This program includes five different levels of monitoring. Factors affecting water quality and the resources available to each region determine the level of monitoring for a particular lake.

 


LEVEL 1

Weekly Summer Clarity (Secchi) and Surface Water Temperature Readings
  • a minimum of 12 readings taken, spread evenly throughout the summer
  • provides a minimum level of baseline information about a lake
  • would be valuable to obtain this level of data for a large number of lakes from different biogeoclimatic zones for climate and eutrophication research
  • can be coordinated by the BCLSS
  • no MoE involvement necessary

LEVEL 2

Spring Overturn Water Chemistry and Dissolved Oxygen (DO)/Temperature (T) Profile Complimented by Weekly Summer Clarity (Secchi) and Surface Water Temperature Readings
  • provides a second level of baseline information about a lake
  • DO/T profile required can be done by BCLSS staff and volunteers
  • MoE staff could do spring overturn water chemistry with the assistance of the BCLSS and volunteers as an option
  • Sampling at multiple depths may be required if DO/T profile shows the lake is not homogeneous

LEVEL 3

Same as Level 2, Adding Multiple Depth Water Chemistry and Biological Sampling Biweekly Throughout the Summer
  • provides more detailed information on the lake such as possible summer oxygen depletion, internal nutrient loading and plankton species present
  • results in a more comprehensive baseline data
  • a sediment core can be taken for insight into historic water quality to assess whether the lake has changed over time
  • can be coordinated by BCLSS staff and carried out by volunteers
  • some MoE staff involvement necessary
  • significantly higher cost and effort required over 1 and 2

LEVEL 4

A Level 1, 2 or 3 Combined with a Watershed Study such as the one done by Hart and Associates on the Chinney – Felker Watershed
  • provides relative magnitudes of potential affects of different land uses
  • can answer questions such as: how much of an effect are septic systems having?
  • is of great value in prioritizing management efforts i.e. put the greatest effort where there is the best potential benefit
  • considerably more expensive than 1, 2, or 3
  • will likely require the services of a consultant, but can be assisted greatly by local stewardship groups and agencies
  • MoE staff involvement necessary

LEVEL 5

Full Watershed Assessment that includes 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as Stream Monitoring for Water Chemistry and Assessment of Riparian Areas
  • the ultimate study, but is very expensive and time consuming
  • not practical or necessary for every watershed
  • large amount of MoE staff involvement necessary

After three years of monitoring, the data collected by volunteers from each lake will be summarized into a lake-specific report by the BCLSS. It is important to note, however, that a minimum of 12 equally spaced samples taken throughout the spring/summer seasons are required in order to collect meaningful data. The lake reports are reader-friendly and will describe the trends in the lake parameters that were monitored. The report will also provide the residents and seasonal users of the lakes with an idea of potential changes in water quality and will identify any problems associated with these changes. Where possible, the reports will make recommendations for further lake monitoring and assessment. Please refer to our library page to view lake reports already completed.

The BCLSS provides all volunteers with the necessary training and equipment. As of the end of the original three-year program (March 31, 2006), over 225 volunteers had received training on 56 lakes with 43 lakes actively monitoring under the program.

Data Form Downloads

Secchi Depth and Surface Temperature

DO/T Profile

Level One Monitoring Instructions

Past Projects

OKANAGAN FORESHORE PROJECT

From 2001-2003, the BCLSS implemented a foreshore project on two lakes in British Columbia. Over 2000 people were contacted during the scope of the project and 200 homesite assessments were completed in the Okanagan, with another 67 done in Christina Lake. In addition, five sites were restored along the Okanagan Lake Foreshore.

RESTORATION

In coordination with the Central Okanagan Regional District, and with funding from TD Friends of the Environment, BCLSS restored 150 feet of shoreline in Bertram Creek Park in Kelowna. A viewing platform and educational signage were also part of this project.