Awarded to the Friends of Kootenay Lake towards improving the information on the status of breeding ospreys in the Kootenay Lake area.

PROPONENT: Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FOKLSS)

DESCRIPTION: Ospreys have seen a significant decline on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake from 1997-2006 data collected by the Nelson Naturalists. Increasing understanding of breeding Ospreys is extremely important as they are considered bio indicators of aquatic health, depending almost exclusively on fish for their diet. The fisheries decline that occurred in Kootenay Lake was of notable concern to residents and the wildlife who rely on them.

For the last 18 years, volunteers have monitored breeding Ospreys annually from Balfour to Waneta. This project complemented this existing monitoring effort by expanding the survey area, engaging more citizen scientists, developing a handout for interpreting osprey behaviour, conducting nest surveys and developing an annual report.

OBJECTIVE: This project helped to improve the information on the status of breeding ospreys in the Kootenay Lake area and ensure accurate data for long-term monitoring. The overall objective of the Osprey Nest Monitoring project was to observe and measure ospreys on the lake; track species abundance (the number of individuals in a given area); evaluate wildlife tree availability and threats osprey may be facing based on the assessment metrics.

The expected long-term results of the project were to increase information on the status of breeding ospreys on Kootenay Lake and to develop a dedicated team of volunteers with the knowledge and equipment required to conduct long-term monitoring of breeding ospreys. Hundreds of residents around the Kootenay Lake area were engaged and educated, leading to many active stewards reporting information and volunteering with FOKLSS throughout this project, and catalyzing them to be active stewards of Kootenay Lake.