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Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors’ water quality monitoring program started in 2010. We depend on community support and volunteers to help us complete this work. To date, we have trained over 100 citizen scientists volunteers in how to monitor and measure the quality of Lake Windermere’s water.

Every summer season, we measure water quality at three sites on Lake Windermere, as well as bacteria levels at three public beaches and water chemistry & tributary flows at one of the major inflows to the lake (Windermere Creek).

Our program builds on the data collected by the Lake Windermere Project (2005-2010). As per recommendations set out by the BC Ministry of Environment, the Ambassadors measure the following parameters:

  • Water temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Conductivity
  • pH levels
  • Turbidity & water clarity
  • Nutrients (total and dissolved phosphorus & nitrog)
  • Total depth

Swim Beach Water Quality


Want to know how safe it is to swim here? To keep up on Lake Windermere’s beach bacteria levels–  check out the Swim Guide website (also downloadable from iTunes).

Annual Water Quality Reports:

Document Title File Type Size Action
Lake Windermere 2017 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2016 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2015 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2014 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2013 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2012 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2011 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download


2017 Lake Results

Executive Summary

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors (LWA) direct a community-based water monitoring and citizen science
education program within the Lake Windermere watershed. 2017 marked the eleventh year of lake
monitoring since the Lake Windermere Project began collecting water quality data in 2006. This database
offers a substantial baseline against which to compare current water quality results.

In 2017, the LWA collected physical and chemical water quality parameters at three sample sites on Lake
Windermere. Once weekly during the summer from mid-June to mid-September, the lake sampling regime
included: temperature, turbidity/clarity, pH, conductivity, depth, dissolved oxygen, and Total and Dissolved
Phosphorous. The LWA also collected E. coli data at public swim beaches with the support of the Interior
Health Authority, and monitored tributary flows and water quality at the outlet of Windermere Creek with
the support of the Columbia Basin Water Quality Monitoring Project (CBWQ). Finally, we conducted an
aquatic plant and invasive veliger survey with the help and expertise of the East Kootenay Invasive Species
Council and Goldeneye Ecological Services.

Findings from 2017 show that Lake Windermere continues to flow in good quality to support aquatic life
and recreation. Parameters that deviated from Ministry of Environment recommendations included
turbidity and dissolved oxygen, however these deviations were self-correcting and likely arose due to
natural conditions. The three public swim beaches (Windermere, James Chabot, and Kinsmen) were in
swimmable quality during all sample collection dates in 2017. Windermere Creek maintained temperatures
favourable for fish health but showed relatively high levels of Aluminum and Iron on one sample date in
early June of 2017, the reason for which cannot be concluded by this author. The annual aquatic plant
survey found no invasive species in Lake Windermere for the eighth year of sampling, and presence of the
unknown algae found near the weir at the lake outlet in 2015 could not be detected again. No invasive
mussels were detected through veliger sampling in 2017.

Comparing trends from 2011-2017 indicate that 2017 was a relatively average year in terms of conductivity,
turbidity, and dissolved oxygen. Water temperature was a bit higher than in past years for June, July, and
August, but remained just below the MOE guidelines for protection of aquatic life. Lake depth showed a
dramatic decline compared to previous years. Mid-summer phosphorous sampling from 2011 to 2017
indicates average Total Phosphorous values are trending downwards with time (June – September period
only). However, ice-off/spring values for average Total Phosphorous had been trending strongly upwards
until 2016 (April-May period only). The peak in Total Phosphorous values at ice-off occurred in 2015. No
ice-off sampling occurred in 2017, so we cannot conclude if this trend was continuing. Further monitoring
of phosphorous and other nutrients is recommended, especially during the critical ice-off period in 2018.


The 2017 Lake Windermere community-based water quality monitoring project was made possible thanks
to generous funding support from the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, Regional District of East
Kootenay, and the District of Invermere.

In-kind support was provided directly by the District of Invermere through use and delivery of the tin boat
and fuel. Additional in-kind support was provided by community volunteers Gavin Jacobs and Danny
Osborne through use of their personal boats, and by the Interior Health Authority for swim beach samples.
Big thanks goes out to all of our citizen scientists! This year’s community volunteers included:
– Tracy Flynn
– Kelly Carlson
– Ray Pierre
– Emma Norquay
– Danny Osborne
– Kaori Maruyama
– The Friedenburg family
– Chevy Demulder
– Peter Hale
– The McGrath family
– Araleigh Cranch
– Paul Christy
– Gavin Jacobs

A final thank you goes out to the following people for providing assistance with our community-based
water quality monitoring program for 2017:
– Katie Watt (2016 & 2017 Watershed Stewardship Assistant)
– Rachel Darvill (Goldeneye Ecological Services)
– Pat Wray (East Kootenay Invasive Species Council)
– Jody Fisher & Jessica Penno (BC Ministry of Environment)