Water testing on Columbia Lake in January 2016. CLSS Photo

The Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) has been working hard over the years on developing a water quality and quantity monitoring program on Columbia Lake.

The objectives of the program are: 1) Water quality monitoring; 2) Water quantity monitoring and 3) Community education. The overall goal is to improve communities’ knowledge of water resources and the steps that can be taken to protect them.

Water testing on Columbia Lake in Fall 2016. CLSS Photo

The first goal is to continue to consistently conduct water quality monitoring on Columbia Lake and to maintain an up-to-date water quality database. This is being accomplished via bi-weekly monitoring of selected water quality indicator parameters and monthly sampling of water for chemical analysis.

Secondly, the CLSS wants to continue to consistently conduct water quantity monitoring on Columbia Lake and inflow and outflow sources, and maintain an up-to-date water quantity database. Water levels on the major inflowing and outflowing streams to and from Columbia Lake and on Columbia Lake itself are now being continuously monitored during the open water season. Another season of measurements will be required before flow volumes in streams can be established with confidence.

Information obtained from the above sources has been communicated by the creation of annual reports, which are provided to local community associations via email and presentations at their AGMs.

Public education through a Columbia Lake boat tour in 2016. CLSS Photo

The third goal of educating homeowners and visitors about the Columbia Lake Watershed is accomplished through outreach and program work, and the dissemination of brochures and annual informational sessions. Specific educational and outreach projects include engaging and training community volunteers in water quantity and quality monitoring, developing and implementing outreach activities aimed at educating the public about responsible boating and invasive species, awareness and respect of environmentally sensitive areas, and awareness of the watershed and the impacts of human activity on that watershed.

For more information on the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society, visit http://columbialakess.com/.

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provide funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The purpose of the CVLCF is to provide local financial support for important projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.