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.
The BCLSS will help revitalize and enhance the lake stewardship sector through the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative.
The Dip-In is an international event during which volunteers collect a snapshot of the water quality in their area.
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.
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.
The Dip-In takes place during Lakes Appreciation Month, July 1st to 31st. The Dip-In is an international event during which volunteers collect a snapshot of the water quality in their area. Volunteers from across North America have participated in this event for over twenty-five years.
The Secchi Dip-In is an annual event that brings out volunteers throughout North America to gather important environmental information about their lakes. The Secchi disc 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 disc, 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 disc used in lakes is an 8-inch disc 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. The amount of algae that grows 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.
A recent project, the Integrated Lake Monitoring Framework (ILMF), completed in 2018, identified a number of needs of the volunteer lake stewardship sector. These needs have been partially addressed using generous funding from the Government of British Columbia. The BCLSS plans to fully address these needs as well as revitalize and enhance the stewardship sector through our new program, the BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative.
A BCLSS representative will travel the province and offer presentations to encourage people to take on stewardship activities and water quality monitoring at their local lakes. Services offered include auditing of monitoring to ensure high quality, usable data is being collected; technical training; safety training; and support, encouragement, and advice on starting and operating a stewardship group.
If you are interested in having the BCLSS offer a presentation in your area, please contact us.