“Five of the eight parameters deviated from the Ministry of Environment objectives, including Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Specific Conductivity, and phosphorus levels.“– LWA 2021 Water Quality Report
2021 Lake Windermere Water Quality Report, Executive Summary:
The Lake Windermere Ambassadors direct a Community-Based Water Monitoring and Citizen-Science Education program within the Lake Windermere watershed. 2021 marked the Fifteenth year of lake monitoring since the Lake Windermere Project began collecting water quality data in 2006.
In 2021, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors water quality monitoring program 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. Total Dissolved Phosphorus and Total Phosphorous were collected monthly from May to September. In addition, the LWA monitored substrate samplers at six sites on the east side of Lake Windermere for invasive mussels. Tributary flows and water quality were monitored at Windermere Creek and Abel Creek outlets. In partnership with the Interior Health Authority, E. coli data was collected at public swim beaches weekly, from May until September, excluding weeks with a statutory holiday Monday. Lastly, Goldeneye Ecological Services was contracted to complete an aquatic plant and fall waterbird survey on Lake Windermere.
Findings from 2021 show that Lake Windermere’s water quality supports aquatic life and recreation. Five of the eight parameters deviated from the Ministry of Environment objectives, including Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Specific Conductivity, and phosphorus levels. 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 2021. 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 couple of sites of concern that saw less healthy vegetation, mainly where sites saw higher boat traffic (Darvill, 2019). The newly developed waterbird survey protocol and the investigative report found 18 species observed, 889 individuals, with several of them being rare sightings and species at risk. Invasive mussel larvae (veligers) were not detected in Lake Windermere as sampled by the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council in 2019 (BC Conservation Officer Service, 2019).
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, Columbia Basin Trust, LUSH Charity Foundation, EcoCanada, BC Community Gaming Grants, BC Hydro, the Columbia Valley Community Foundation and the Royal Bank of Canada Foundation. Additional funding support for our 2019 programs came from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Canada Summer Jobs, and the Columbia Basin Watershed Network.
Questions about the report?
Contact: Lake Windermere Ambassadors