We Are Proud of Our Programs and Partnerships
Working with local community organizations, residents, and other non-profit societies, the BCLSS has implemented a variety of programs to provide education and training to expand lake stewardship throughout British Columbia. Through our unique programs, including the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program, LakeKeepers, and the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative, we are proud to be empowering stewards to ensure our provincial lakes are clean and healthy.
The BCLSS developed the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program in partnership with the BC Ministry of Environment to allow for greater collaboration with lake stewards.
Through the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative, the BCLSS will enhance and strengthen the provincial lake stewardship sector.
The BCLSS LakeKeepers training course and manual provide an in-depth understanding of lake ecology and management.
The NALMS Secchi Dip-In is an international event during which volunteers collect a snapshot of the water quality from their favourite lake.
The BCLSS partners with other organizations that share our vision of clean, healthy lakes. Collaboration leads to a larger impact, further strengthening watershed stewardship throughout the province.
Since 2009, the BCLSS has offered LakeKeepers workshops to provide training and support for lake stewardship with an emphasis on lake water quality monitoring and aquatic plant surveying. Twenty-seven workshops have been offered since the program’s inception thanks to our generous funders.
The BCLSS LakeKeepers training courses are offered throughout the province and participants will gain a greater understanding of lake ecology and management. This knowledge leads to an increased ability to take care of their lakes through better understanding of watershed and land-use impacts. 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.
The LakeKeepers manual is a lakeshore resident’s guide to the stewardship and monitoring of lakes. 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.
The manual is currently being revised and we appreciate your patience while it undergoes extensive technical review.
The Secchi Dip-In takes place during Lakes Appreciation Month, July 1st to 31st. This is an international effort of the North American Lake Management Society during which volunteers collect a snapshot of the water quality in their local lake. Volunteers from across North America have participated in this event for over twenty-five years, gathering important environmental information about their lakes. The BCLSS has been a collaborator of this event in BC since 2002!
The Secchi disk is one of the most basic tools for evaluating water quality of lakes. It measures water transparency (clarity) which is a good indicator of the impacts from human activity on the land surrounding a water body. If transparency is measured through the season and from year to year, trends in transparency can be observed. It can serve as an early warning that activities on the land are affecting water quality.
Father Pietro Angelo Secchi, scientific advisor to the Pope, was asked by Commander Cialdi, head of the Papal Navy, to develop and test a new water transparency instrument in the Mediterranean Sea. This instrument, now named the Secchi disk, was first lowered from the papal steam yacht l’Immacolata Concezione (The Immaculate Concenption) in the Mediterranean Sea on April 20, 1865.
The typical Secchi disk used in lakes is an 8-inch disk with alternating black and white quadrants. It is lowered into the water until the observer can no longer see it. The depth of disappearance, called the Secchi depth, is a measure of the transparency of the water.
Transparency decreases as the amount of particulate materials – such as algae and suspended sediment – increases. In other words, the water becomes less clear when there is more algae or sediment suspended in the water. The amount of algae that grows in a lake is affected by the amount of nutrients coming from sewage treatment plants, septic tanks, and lawn and agricultural fertilizer, as well as suspended sediments washed from construction sites, agricultural fields, urban storm runoff, or churned upward from bottom deposits. Determining water clarity is the first step in assessing the health of a lake.
The BC Lake Stewardship Society organizes the provincial Dip-In and submits the data to the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). You can explore historical Dip-In data on the Water Quality Portal.
If you would like to participate in the Secchi Dip-In, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Put your lake on the map!
The BC Lake Stewardship Society recognizes the increased need to focus on education and communication to advance stewardship throughout the province. The BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative (BCLSEI) is an educational program developed in 2019 to improve the capacity of lake stewards and to complement our other well-established programs and services.
In 2018, the BCLSS led the development of the Integrated Lake Monitoring Framework (ILMF), in partnership with Living Lakes Canada, for the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. This framework outlined the need to expand and enhance the volunteer lake stewardship sector and also verified that the volunteer lake stewardship sector required more training and diverse support. These needs can be addressed by increasing awareness and offering education and training opportunities. The needs identified in the report included:
The BCLSS aims to fulfill these needs of the volunteer lake stewardship sector through the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative (BCLSEI), an educational program offered through meetings, presentations, and workshops. The diverse curriculum of this program is based on the needs and requests of communities being visited and can include general lake science, information on lake stewardship and citizen science, general support and advice for lake stewards, increasing awareness on lake related issues such as aquatic plants and invasive mussels, and assistance with operating a stewardship group, including information on fundraising. The BCLSEI can be adapted to incorporate more technical components such as procedural and safety training for lake monitoring and auditing of monitoring to ensure high quality data is being collected.
Virtual meetings are an integral component of the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative in response to the COVID pandemic. Virtual meeting educational topics range from general lake science (including lake-specific science), how to purchase and use a dissolved oxygen meter, and how to take Secchi and temperature readings.
Meeting with provincial lake stewards under the BCLSEI has reinforced the importance of personalized assistance. Face to face meetings are complemented by ongoing support and outreach offered by the BCLSS through follow up emails, phone calls, and virtual meetings. Additional support is provided through educational resources, informational monthly newsletters, and sharing of any other relevant contacts or resources. This ongoing support is critical as it continues to motivate lake stewards and citizen scientists, which, in turn, ensures that lakes receive the care they need to remain healthy. Feedback from program participants has reinforced the value of this support.
The initial success of this program demonstrates that personalized contact with those that have concern for and care about our local lakes is invaluable. We aim to continue to empower individuals and groups through this program, so that they can take on a greater role in lake stewardship.
If you are interested in having the BCLSS provide a personalized presentation, please contact us.
BCLSS is a Water Rangers Ambassador!
Water Rangers has carefully designed, educational water test kits that anyone can use. They are an excellent way for community groups and schools to collect and share water quality data from lakes and streams.
The BCLSS has been using these kits with a number of school groups as well as for monitoring Como Lake in Coquitlam with the Burke Mountain Naturalists. They are very well put together, easy to use, and fun! Water data can be entered right into the Water Rangers app and are graphed immediately in the dashboard so that you can see the results over time.
To learn more about these educational test kits and to purchase one through the BCLSS, please click here.
Living Lakes Canada Lake Blitz
This citizen science project was born out of the continuing need to increase water stewardship and help Canadians understand climate change impacts on the health of our lakes, rivers, wetlands, streams, and groundwater.
Participating in the Lake Blitz is simple and fun! For more information and to get involved, please go to the Living Lakes Canada Lake Blitz website.