The BCLSS has wrapped up the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative (BCLSEI) after a second successful year. The BCLSEI addresses the needs of provincial volunteers so that the lake stewardship sector can be revitalized, enhanced, and strengthened. This initiative also addresses the critical need to increase the number of lake stewards and the number of lakes being monitored throughout the province.
Despite the pandemic, the BCLSS was able to continue the BCLSEI, with COVID-19 protocols in place. Although aspects of the program have moved to online format, it is imperative that lake stewards receive in-person training, as there is no substitute for hands on learning and training at their lake.
Marge Sidney, BCLSS director and BCLSEI representative, travelled to different areas of the province to offer presentations and individualized support to encourage citizens to take on stewardship activities at their local lakes. Lake visits included a variety of topics including technical and safety training, auditing of volunteer monitoring to ensure high quality data collection, advice on starting a stewardship group, general support, and anything else lake related (i.e. plankton tows). The BCLSEI is unique in that it provides such a range of support, specific to the needs of program participants and their lake.
Marge visited 26 lakes in the Omineca – Peace, Skeena, Thompson-Nicola, Cariboo, and Chilcotin regions this year. In 2019, 30 lakes were visited in the Thompson-Nicola, South Coast, and Cariboo regions. Program participants have been appreciative of the training, advice, and extensive knowledge that Marge was able to share with them.
We are excited to see so many stewards participating in the BCLSEI and collectively taking care of their local lakes. Working in partnership, we can ensure that our lakes are healthy and looked after. This program was made possible by funding from LUSH. Our plan is to continue this program in 2021 on Vancouver Island, in the Kootenays, and in other regions with lake stewards that are interested in participating. If you would like to take part in the BCLSEI, please contact the BCLSS office.