Click here to check out our new Data Portal website to see 2018 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 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

 

2018 Lake Results

Executive Summary

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors (LWA) currently direct a community-based water monitoring
and citizen science education program within the Lake Windermere watershed. 2018 marked the
twelfth year of lake monitoring since the Lake Windermere Project began collecting water quality
data in 2006.

In 2018, the LWA collected physical and chemical water quality parameters at three sample sites
on Lake Windermere. Once weekly during the summer from late May to mid-September, the lake
sampling regime included: water temperature, turbidity/clarity, pH, conductivity, depth, and
dissolved oxygen. Once monthly from April to August, we collected samples for Total and Total
Dissolved Phosphorous. The LWA also collected E. coli data at public swim beaches in
partnership with the Interior Health Authority, and monitored tributary flows and water quality at the
outlet of Windermere Creek and Abel Creek. Lastly, we conducted an aquatic plant survey as well
as a fall waterbird survey on Lake Windermere with the help and expertise of Goldeneye
Ecological Services.

Findings from 2018 show that Lake Windermere continues to flow in good quality to support
aquatic life and recreation. Parameters that deviated from Ministry of Environment thresholds
included turbidity and Total Phosphorous, however these likely arose due to natural conditions and
are not of immediate concern (see below). The three public swim beaches (Windermere, James
Chabot, and Kinsmen) were in swimmable quality during all sample collection dates in 2018. The
annual aquatic plant survey found no invasive species in Lake Windermere for the ninth year of
sampling, and the lake continues to show healthy abundance and biodiversity of aquatic
vegetation. A newly developed waterbird survey protocol and investigative report highlights the
importance of the South end of Lake Windermere for waterbird survival and biodiversity, and
recommends improved education regarding recreational protections for the Southern part of Lake
Windermere. We await confirmation regarding the presence of invasive mussel larvae (veligers)
which were sampled for by the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council in 2018, but to date there
have been no reports of invasive mussels in the lake.

Comparing current results to past years indicates that 2018 was a relatively average year in terms
of pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen in Lake Windermere. While no water
temperature readings exceeded the Ministry of Environment threshold on sampling days and times,
temperature exceedances were noted at public swim beaches in the late afternoon on hot days in
August. Average summer water temperature and average summer lake depth are showing trends
of increasing and decreasing with time, respectively. Water conservation measures will become
more critical with time to help ensure Lake Windermere continues to flow in good health. Fortunately,
phosphorous samples have not indicated a significant increase in Total Phosphorous since 2015, and
actually indicate lower sample results than in past years.

Acknowledgements

The 2018 Lake Windermere community-based water quality monitoring project was made possible
thanks to generous funding support from the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, Columbia
Basin Trust, Real Estate Foundation of BC, 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 volunteer Gavin Jacobs
through use of his personal boat, and by the Interior Health Authority for swim beach samples.

A final thank you goes out to the following people for providing assistance with our community- based water quality monitoring program for 2018:

– Rachel Kanan (2018 Watershed Stewardship Assistant)
– Rachel Darvill (Goldeneye Ecological Services)
– Community volunteers and citizen scientists