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.
The BCLSS LakeKeepers training course and manual provide an in-depth understanding of lake ecology and management.
Through the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative, the BCLSS will enhance and strengthen the provincial lake stewardship sector.
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.
Kirsten McNeill, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy – The Evolution of the BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program
Georgia Peck, Living Lakes Canada – Interweaving Traditional Knowledge with Water Stewardship through Collaborative Foreshore Surveys
Bruce Kosugi, Charlie Lake Conservation Society – Monitoring Environmental Changes in Charlie Lake: Insights from over 20 years of observations
Paul Gowland & Gina Hoar, Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society – Effects of eutrophication and an invasive aquatic species (Parrot Feather) on salmonid populations in the Somenos watershed
Peggy English & Lynn Kriwoken, Whistler Lakes Conservation Association –
What Really Counts? Building a Lake Stewardship Ethic in a World-Destination Resort Community
Matt Brown & Madeleine Ankenman, Swim Drink Fish Canada – Swim Drink Fish Programs
Jay White, Aquality Environmental Consulting Ltd. – Peroxide and alum treatment
Terry McNabb, Aquatechnex – A new tool for restoring waterbodies impacted by the invasive aquatic weed Eurasian Milfoil
Dr. Shannon Waters – Keynote speaker
Daniel Selbie, Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Aqua Incognita: Species-at-risk persistence at the intersection of eutrophication, climate change, and exotic species invasion in their critical habitat, Cultus Lake, British Columbia
Torin Kelly, Invasive Species Council of BC – Invasive Species Council of BC Programs that Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Introduced Invasive Species
Rebecca Nielsen, Coastal Collaborative Sciences – Water quality and eutrophication in the Elk Lake Watershed
Nell Libera, DataStream Initiative The Gordon Foundation – Introducing Pacific DataStream: an open-access data platform to support collaboration and water stewardship
Since 2009, the BCLSS has offered LakeKeepers workshops to provide training and support for lake stewardship with an emphasis on lake water quality monitoring. Workshops are held throughout the province thanks to our generous partners and funders: Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The BCLSS LakeKeepers 1.5 day training course provides participants with a greater understanding of lake ecology and health. Human impacts to watersheds and lakes are also covered. This knowledge increases the ability of citizens to steward their lakes, as they are equipped with a better understanding of the watershed and potential land-use impacts. Regionally based LakeKeepers courses also create peer-to-peer learning opportunities through networking and can address issues and concerns specific to the location. Optional modules, such as Watershed Assessment and Aquatic Plant Surveying are available and can selected by course participants.
The workshop consists of one day in class that includes hands on training to use lake monitoring equipment, followed by one – half day at a lake where participants apply a variety of lake ecology and water quality monitoring techniques
Topics covered in the course may include:
The BC Lake Stewardship Society is pleased to report on our on-going First Nations Lake Stewardship & Monitoring Training Program (First Nations LakeKeepers). See above for details on our 1.5 Day LakeKeepers Workshops.
BCLSS has had participation from First Nations communities throughout BC. From the Skwah in the Lower Mainland, to the P’egp’ig’lha in Lillooet to the South Dakelh in the Cariboo, to the Kitsella in Terrace, our LakeKeepers workshops have been enthusiastically received. BCLSS has partnered with several organizations to deliver these workshops: BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Skeena Wild, Skeena Knowledge Trust, Living Lakes Canada, and the individual First Nations Communities. Many of these workshops have significant participation from the youth of these communities.
There is strong interest among many First Nations who have established or are starting Guardian Programs. “This was an awesome course. Instructors were awesome and helpful. I would recommend this course to others who want to know more about the land,” said Foster Thom, a Tsalalh Lands Guardian.
“I would like this training component with St’at’imc Nationas a collaboration unit and involve all communities. We need collaboration with all First Nation communities for spring lake turnover and fall,” said Denise Antoine, P’egp’ig’lha Natural Resources Specialist.
BCLSS has been honored to provide this training and learn from the participants as well! Read 2023 highlights from the First Nations LakeKeepers Program here. Anyone interested in the BCLSS First Nations LakeKeepers Program can contact the BCLSS office firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like a LakeKeepers Workshop in your community in 2024, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can get you on a list for potential funding.
 The St’át’imc are the original inhabitants of the territory which extends north to Churn Creek and to South French Bar; northwest to the headwaters of the Bridge River; north and east toward Hat Creek Valley; east to the Big Slide; south to the island on Harrison Lake and west of the Fraser River to the headwaters of the Lillooet River, Ryan River and Black Tusk. The St’át’imc Nation is composed of eleven distinct and self-governing communities, including the Líl’wat Nation, which is a distinct Nation with linguistic, cultural, familial and political ties to the St’át’imc Nation. Source: Squamish Lillooet Regional District
May 28-30, 2024
$750 per person
Held near Williams Lake, BC
The BCLSS Lake Ecology and Monitoring Course is a 3 day course designed to give professionals in environment related fields a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of lake ecology and monitoring to prepare them for work in consulting firms, government agencies, and other organizations engaged in the monitoring and assessment of lakes. BCLSS has developed this course through the expertise in limnology of our staff and Board of Directors. Students will gain proficiency in a variety of lake related field monitoring techniques through field sessions at a lake comprising approximately 30% of the course.
Meet the instructors here!
Please contact email@example.com for more information about our courses.
The LakeKeepers manual is a comprehensive guide to lake stewardship and ecology in British Columbia. Anyone concerned or even curious about our provincial lakes will find this manual useful and informative. It is an educational resource, lake monitoring training guide, and toolkit for developing successful community stewardship initiatives.
The 2022 version of the manual is now available by clicking on the adjacent image. If you have any comments on the manual, please let us know, as we will be updating it on an annual basis.
The BCLSS invites anyone with an interest in lake conservation to become a member of the society, so that we can work together to strengthen the stewardship sector and keep lakes clean and healthy, for generations to come.
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!
How to use a Secchi Disk
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.