The Lake Windermere Ambassadors strive to be good stewards of their environment. This means taking care of the lake and watershed, and teaching others how to take better care of it as well.
Windermere Lake Substrate Samplers
This summer season the Lake Windermere Ambassadors have attached substrate samplers to multiple docks across the East side of the lake. A substrate sampler mimics the natural environment for mussels so can be used to monitor growth and spread. They are made from mesh attached to a rope that hangs off the side of a dock. If you happen to see one feel free to pull it out and take a look, just please do not take anything off. At this point in time, there are no invasive mussel species in the Windermere Lake such as Zebra or Quagga mussels. We would like it to stay that way! Invasive species are extremely destructive because they have no natural predators and they can throw entire ecosystems out of balance.
We will check these samplers for invasive mussels once every month as a last resort check to ensure there has not been spread of invasive species. The Invasive Species Council works hard every year to perform boat inspections, educate boat owners and test water for the larvae. We must all work together to keep out invasives by cleaning, draining and drying boats thoroughly after each boat trip.
To learn more about invasive mussels go check out our “Don’t move a Mussel” page or the Invasive Species Council website. Our watershed monitoring programs are made possible with support from the District of Invermere, Regional District of East Kootenay, Real Estate Foundation of BC and Columbia Basin Trust.
Whiteway Ambassador Project: Winter Stewardship of the Lake
In the winter of 2016-2017, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors partnered with the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club to pilot a new Whiteway Ambassador project. The partnership introduced a more consistent Ambassadors presence on the frozen lake, and cultivated awareness about winter water stewardship while also collecting donations for the maintenance of the “Whiteway” (Lake Windermere’s world-class skating trail!) by the ski club , a portion of which returns to Ambassadors programs.
The Lake Windermere Ambassadors will continue to look for creative ways to engage winter users of Lake Windermere, using the Ambassadors ice hut, and through developing similar partnerships with winter recreation groups. Future activities might include winter season lake sampling, ice fishing demos, and interpretive skating activities on the lake.
Our watershed stewardship education programs are made possible with support from the District of Invermere, Regional District of East Kootenay, Real Estate Foundation of BC and Columbia Basin Trust.
Nuisance Nutrients education
The Ambassadors measured elevated levels of Total and Dissolved Phosphorous in Lake Windermere in early 2014 and 2015. This prompted the beginning of a watershed-wide outreach and education initiative, to raise awareness about nutrient impacts in our watershed and to provide hands-on training for residents and businesses to learn how to sample for water quality as well as take steps to reduce their personal nutrient footprint.
Click the button below to read our nutrient stewardship brochure!
David Thompson Secondary School Shoreline Assessment
In the spring of 2013, community volunteers helped a class of science students from David Thompson Secondary School undertake an assessment of a few sections of Lake Windermere’s shoreline.
Here’s a video about what they learned and some points about how to improve the wildlife value of the shoreline. (Click link below to watch video!)
This project was made possible through the financial support of TD Friends of the Environment and the Regional District of East Kootenay.
The Cost of Restoration
One of the reasons to be a lake steward is to protect intact, functioning lake systems – not just because we enjoy them now, but because if we lose them, they are extremely expensive to restore!
Lakes around the world have been degraded to the point that they can no longer be used for drinking water or recreation. It is far cheaper to maintain a healthy lake than to restore a degraded lake.
The article below provides more information about the services provided by functioning lakes, and the costs to restore them with the example of Lake Constance in Europe.
Stewardship while Boating
The Ambassadors have put together a Green Boating Guide that provides tips for being a better steward of the waters you’re recreating on, and having fun while boating, too! Check out the link to the guide below: