Local Conservation Fund Feature: Water Quality and Quantity Monitoring Project
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.
Through the generous support of the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors are positioned to meet their goals for the Water Quality & Quantity Monitoring Project.
Through their community-based water monitoring program on Lake Windermere, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors are helping to build a database of water quality information in the Upper Columbia River. At the same time, weekly sampling events allow visitors and long-term residents of different age groups to be trained as citizen scientists. Fourteen new participants learned lake monitoring protocol this season alone! Notably, 50% of samplers this season were under the age of 35, providing a role model for youth to get engaged in water stewardship. Each volunteer was featured in a weekly “Pulse Check” column in the local newsletter with a description of notable sampling results.
The Ambassadors responded to public inquiries regarding changes to the lake (eg. water levels, freshwater mussels, foreshore access, etc.), wrote 12 (monthly) educational columns in the Columbia Valley Pioneer, and collected a small sample of surveys at the public boat launch regarding native and invasive species of freshwater mussels. Community environmental education was further supported by events geared towards engaging youth, residents and community groups in events such as two waterless carwash partnerships and the Annual Summer Splash and Sailing Regatta. These initiatives aimed at raising awareness about aquatic species, watershed cycles, and responsible recreational activity on the Lake.
The Ambassadors also hosted 7 engaging public outreach booths showcasing water quality equipment and lake trivia at community events this summer, and gave 11 public presentations to promote awareness of the project. The Ambassadors have achieved their 2016 objectives of strengthening a community ethic of water stewardship and empowering the public with reliable water quality information, and look forward to advancing this important work in 2017.
For more information please visit http://www.lakeambassadors.ca.