As many beach-goers have noticed, the exceptionally high waters this spring and summer have led to abnormally soggy conditions on Kinsmen Beach.
On the east side of the beach, high waters swept away many of the native plants added to the shoreline as part of the Kinsmen Beach Restoration Project.
The project, a joint effort of the District of Invermere and the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, aimed to prevent further erosion of the beach while adding natural elements back to the shoreline to improve fish and wildlife habitat.
“The climate conditions this year were unfortunate,” says Lake Windermere Ambassadors Program Coordinator Kirsten Harma. “Given a few years to grow, the plants could have developed a strong root system. Since plant roots help stabilize shoreline soil, they would have eventually helped buffer the impact caused by high water during years like this one.”
Despite the plant losses, many consider the restoration project a net gain to Kinsmen Beach.
Mayor Gerry Taft commented: “by partnering with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors on foreshore improvements at Kinsmen Beach, the District of Invermere was able to both decrease erosion and increase people’s access and enjoyment of a large portion of the beach, as well as help to protect the environment. Considering the high water this year, had the foreshore work not been completed, significant damage, erosion and potential tree loss would likely have occurred.”
Peter Holmes, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations agrees: “Rocks placed near the steeply eroded bank and around the cottonwoods helped deflect some of the energy of the waves and kept it from eroding the shoreline. The large cottonwoods down there would likely have become further compromised by the high water this year without the new protections in place.”
For more information, or to volunteer, contact the Lake Windermere Ambassadors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 341-6898.
— Submitted by Kirsten Harma, Lake Windermere Ambassadors