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.
The BCLSS LakeKeepers committee have created the LakeKeepers manual, a lakeshore resident’s guide to the stewardship and monitoring of lakes.
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.
The BCLSS developed the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program to allow for greater collaboration with our volunteer groups and individuals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.