Click here to check out our new Data Portal website to see 2019-2020 data, or scroll down to see all our past annual reports.

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 & nitrogen)
  • Total depth

Swim Beach Water Quality

SwimAppLogo

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 2020 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2019 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
Lake Windermere 2018 Water Quality Monitoring Results pdf N/A Download
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

 

2020 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. 2020 marked the fourteenth year of lake monitoring since the Lake Windermere Project began collecting water quality data in 2006. 

In 2020, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors collected physical and chemical water quality parameters at three sample sites on Lake Windermere once weekly during the summer, from late May to September. The lake sampling regime included water temperature, turbidity/clarity, pH, conductivity, depth, and dissolved oxygen. Once monthly from May to September we collected Total Dissolved Phosphorus and Total Phosphorous. The LWA monitored substrate samplers at six sites on the east side of Lake Windermere for invasive mussels, and monitored tributary flows and water quality at the outlet of Windermere Creek and Abel Creek. E. coli data was collected at public swim beaches weekly, from May until September, excluding weeks with a statutory holiday Monday, in partnership with the Interior Health Authority. 

Goldeneye Ecological Services was contracted to complete an aquatic plant survey, and fall waterbird survey on Lake Windermere. Additionally, LWA hired Lotic Environmental to conduct a one-day survey of fish using a variety of methods. From this work, the recommendation to complete a more comprehensive study was made. Finally, in partnership with Living Lakes Canada, Foreshore Integrated Management Planning (FIMP) was redone in 2020 to help gain insight into landscape level changes that have occurred over a ten-year time frame. This will give us a better understanding of the impacts a growing population has had on our surrounding environment. 

Findings from 2020 show that Lake Windermere water quality continues to support aquatic life and recreation. While three monitoring parameters deviated from the Ministry of Environment objectives, exceedances were brief and were likely caused by intense flooding of Windermere Creek during the Spring season. The three public swim beaches (Windermere, James Chabot Provincial Park, and Kinsmen) met Interior Health Authority guidelines for recreational quality during all sample collection dates in 2020. The annual aquatic plant survey found no invasive species in Lake Windermere for the eleventh year of sampling. While overall there is a healthy abundance of vegetation throughout the lake there were a few sample sites that saw an increase in Chara. Propagation of Chara is typically accomplished by spores carried by waterfowl, or by plant fragmentation (which can be caused by boat propellers). Moving forward, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors will monitor nutrient levels in relation to the presence of Chara in Lake Windermere. Further to the waterbird survey protocol and investigative report developed in 2018, the 2020 fall waterbird survey found 14 species observed, 1,921 individuals, with 6% of them being rare sightings and species at risk. Invasive mussel larvae (veligers) were not detected in Lake Windermere as sampled for by the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council in 2020.

Our major funders for this project and its final report include the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, the District of Invermere, the Regional District of East Kootenay, the Columbia Basin Trust’s Environment Large Grants program, and LUSH Charity Foundation. Additional funding support for our 2020 programs came from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Canada Summer Jobs, the Columbia Basin Watershed Network, and BC Community Gaming Grants.

Acknowledgements

The 2020 Lake Windermere community-based water quality-monitoring project was made possible thanks to generous funding support from:

  • Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund
  • District of Invermere
  • Regional District of East Kootenay
  • Columbia Basin Trust’s Environment Large Grants program
  • LUSH Charity Foundation
  • Real Estate Foundation of BC
  • Columbia Valley Community Foundation
  • Real Estate Foundation of BC
  • Canada Summer Jobs
  • Columbia Basin Watershed Network
  • BC Community Gaming Grants

In-kind support provided by the District of Invermere through use and delivery of the tin boat and fuel. Additional in-kind support provided by community volunteer Gavin Jacobs through the use of his 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:

  • Katie Watt
  • Ronda Ellery
  • Jacqueline Simone
  • Baiba and Pat Morrow
  • Brooklyn Bohach
  • Gavin Jacobs
  • Ella Swan
  • Justin Ellery
  • Zac Thiffault
  • Jodi Roworth
  • Kate and Luke Lagasse
  • Kayla Harris
  • Annie Pankovitch

A final thank you goes out to the following people for providing assistance with our community-based water quality-monitoring program for 2019:

  • Clare Suggett, Water Stewardship Assistant
  • Rachel Darvill, Goldeneye Ecological Services
  • Danny Smart, East Kootenay Invasive Species Council
  • Carol Luttmer, Living Lakes Canada
  • Kyle Prince, Living Lakes Canada
  • Raegan Mallison, Living Lakes Canada
  • Kat Hartwig, Living Lakes Canada
  • Norm Zirnhelt, BC Lakes Stewardship Society
  • Rick Nordin, BC Lakes Stewardship Society
  • Bill Thompson, Columbia Lake Stewardship Society
  • Tom Dance, Columbia Lake Stewardship Society