After five years of water quality monitoring, the data has been collected, and the results are in for the now-complete, award-winning Lake Windermere Project (LWP).
Results show that while the water is in good condition, there is still some concern about water pollution sources. The LWP gathered data weekly, taking boat trips out onto Lake Windermere since 2005 to monitor the water.
This testing ended in 2009, and during that time, hundreds of volunteers have accompanied the LWP staff to collect water samples and take temperature readings. The collected data was sent to the B.C. Ministry of Environment for scientific analysis, which led to updated water quality objectives for the lake.
“Water quality objectives are guidelines,” said Kirsten Harma, project co-ordinator with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors. “If met, they help protect lake health and preserve essential values such as drinking water, recreation and fishing.”
According to Harma, the results show high, but acceptable, levels of turbidity, and elevated temperature levels.
“It’s good news that we have good quality, however, it’s also a good reason for caution. Good water quality can go complacent, or go downhill,” said Paul Christie, Lake Windermere Ambassador’s chair.
“We’re very fortunate to be able to assess the lake’s health and maintain it. To be pro-active is more cost-friendly in the long run too.”
Christie went on to say that the Lake Windermere Ambassadors “are continuing monitoring water, and are working with the Regional District of East Kootenay and the District of Invermere to implement the Lake Windermere Management Plan.”
The best way to keep the water quality of Lake Windermere in good condition is to keep it clean and to take care of it, Christie said. “It comes down to common sense. When you’re sailing on your boat, don’t spill, don’t leave garbage in the lake.
Those interested in taking the lake’s natural value protection a step further can also support the Lake Windermere Ambassadors.
“The ambassadors are a group, yes, but they’re also just people who care about protecting the lake,” Harma said.
“You’re an ambassador if you realize how lucky we are to have such good water quality in a lake with so much surrounding development.”
For more information, or to get involved with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, guests are welcome at the Lake Windermere Ambassadors office at 709 10th Street in Invermere, or call or email at 250-341-6898 and firstname.lastname@example.org