Awarded to the Lake Windermere Ambassadors (LWA) Society to empower and educate citizens and decision-makers with reliable data on the lake’s water quality and ecological health; and strengthen community water stewardship through ongoing water quality monitoring, support for science-based management and outreach.
PROPONENT: Lake Windermere Ambassadors (LWA)
DESCRIPTION: Each year that Lake Windermere continues to grow in popularity as a tourism destination and experiences housing and commercial development around the shorelines, the risks of negative environmental impacts occurring to the water quality, and risks of disturbance to local fish and wildlife populations, increases significantly. Case studies demonstrate that lakes, rivers, and marine water bodies which undergo significant pollution events, algal blooms, or invasion by non-native species inevitably lose a significant amount of tourism/recreation revenue and suffer possibly irreversible environmental damages. Climate change is beginning to influence the hydrologic regimes in the Columbia Valley by causing hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters, all of which compounds human influences on water quality. It is imperative that we build on the baseline data of fish populations and continue to gather water quantity and quality data within the Columbia River Headwater Lakes as soon as possible to prevent damage and manage impacts to these critical ecosystems. Concerns currently facing Lake Windermere are increased development pressures on aquatic ecosystems, lack of understanding of native and non-native fish populations, and limited public access.
OBJECTIVE: This ongoing project addressES the environmental and community concerns through community engagement in water quality monitoring, translation of the water quality monitoring into achievable actions to be taken by local government and the community, and revitalization of the Lake Windermere foreshore. Water Quality and Quantity information is collected directly by community members providing an opportunity for stewardship of the Lake. This information is then distributed to the community through weekly and monthly newspaper articles, presentations and workshops, and a summary report. By working with the local and regional governments, and other community organizations, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors foster a sense of community pride and ownership for Lake Windermere and access to it that resonates through the community. These actions address the above stated environmental and community issues directly.