Saturday, April 3, 2021

BCLSS Loonie News - March 2021


BCLSS Loonie News
March 2021

  *reposted with permission*

Online Forum: Boating on BC Lakes - A Diverse Future

Join the BCLSS, Lake Windermere Ambassadors (LWA), and Living Lakes Canada (LLC) as we host an online forum on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 from 9:30-11:30 am PDT.

We will be examining the environmental impacts of boating, discussing regulatory issues, and identifying potential solutions.

Heather Larratt, Larratt Aquatic Consulting Ltd. Impacts of Wake Boats.
Darryl Arsenault, Arsenault Environmental Consulting Ltd. Restoring and Protecting Shorelines the Natural Way.
Alan Drinkwater, Decibel Coalition. Working to Create Boating Decibel Limits.
Shannon McGinty, Lake Windermere Ambassadors. Management Lessons from Lake Windermere.
Heather Leschied, Living Lakes Canada. Foreshore Integrated Management Planning.

Mark Fry, Templar Marine Group Ltd.. Electric Boats.


Please register here.

Wake Boats on Small Interior Lakes and Rivers by Jim Davies

The continuing development and popularity of wake boats has resulted in more and more of these types of watercraft impacting interior lakes and rivers. While many groups have expressed concern over the new introduction of waves big enough to free surf on, requests to Transport Canada to regulate these types of watercraft were met with little response: mainly  due to no scientific documentation to legitimize the issue. A cohesive effort is required to convince Transport Canada of the need to allow Local Authorities the ability to regulate the operation of wake boats on small interior lakes and rivers.

Wake boat manufacturers continue to develop boats that can create bigger and better shaped waves to free surf on. This is done by installing ballast tanks, trim tabs, and more powerful engines. The shoreline impacts of these waves are evident. Erosion, sediment, wildlife nesting, habitat and property damage from far larger than natural occurring waves.

Independent scientific studies were conducted by Laval University in Quebec and Larratt Consulting in Kalamalka Lake (2019) in B.C. These studies show that the required distance to dissipate wake boat  waves is 300 metres. Traditional recreational watercraft are designed to plane quickly and dissipate waves in approx. 30 metres. These studies also looked at the depth of disturbance. Wake boats create disturbance to a depth of 6 – 8 m. Aquatic plant and sediment re-suspension releases phosphorus and toxins from the lake bottom contributing to a reduction in aquatic insects and water quality. Traditional recreational boats create disturbance of 1.5 – 2 m depth. Most salmon bearing rivers are 6 m or less in depth and less than 600 m wide. The impact on fry and spawning is a concern.

There are fortunately many larger Interior lakes where wake boats can be safely and environmentally operated on. Present Transport Canada Boating Regulations would require a restriction on all types of powered watercraft in order to restrict wake boats. This blanket restriction would restrict traditional users from their recreational opportunities and affecting property values.

There is an extensive process using the Local Authorities Guide in order to apply for a Boating Restriction. Consultation with Indigenous Peoples, business, public, and property owners is required. This process insures that any lake where wake boats can be operated on without negatively impacting the environment and the safety and enjoyment of all other lake users would not be restricted. Interior lakes are the nesting sites of 1.5 million ducks and loons (Ducks Unlimited).

The Heffley Lake Community Association (HLCA) has established a point of contact with the Provincial Boating Safety Officer to receive requests for Transport Canada to change the present regulation and to permit Local Authorities to apply for a specific Ballasted Wake boat restriction, without restricting other types of powered watercraft. Contact Jim Davies (Vice-President HLCA) for further information at

Remembering David Schindler by Rick Nordin (BCLSS Vice President)

David Schindler was the most well known and respected freshwater ecologist in the world. He passed away March 4th 2021. His early career was spent doing research on eutrophication and acid rain at the Experimental Lakes Area in North-Western Ontario near where I grew up. Much of his later career was spent at the University of Alberta where he was involved with research on a number of scientific issues like the oil sands and climate change. He published many important papers but was also an environmental activist, lobbying and speaking on environmental issues. He believed that it was essential for scientists to communicate science to the public and to policy makers.
He had a strong British Columbia connection. In his retirement he lived at Brisco near Invermere. A very memorable remembrance for me was at a BCLSS LakeKeepers workshop organized by the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society in 2016. In a conversation with Kat Hartwig, she mentioned that David Schindler was interested in what we were doing and asked if he could attend and perhaps give a short talk on the importance of phosphorus in lake ecology. I enthusiastically said yes and he participated in the workshop and contributed information and comments from his huge base of knowledge and experience and was especially pleased to go out on the lake in the boats that had been arranged for the workshop field session and comment on the sampling we did and his observations of the lake. 
His wisdom, energy, and insight will be greatly missed.

David Schindler and Rick Nordin at a BCLSS LakeKeepers workshop on Columbia Lake.

Announcements and Reminders

Inspect aquariums to help prevent spread of invasive mussels
From the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy: Anyone that has a moss ball (marimo moss ball) in their aquarium is being asked to inspect it for invasive zebra mussels now that the highly invasive species has been found in a number of locations throughout the province.

Anyone who finds zebra mussels can call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277 to report their find. Moss balls can safely be deposed of by 1) placing them in a sealed plastic bag and putting them in a freezer for at least 24 hours, or 2) placing them in boiling water for at least one full minute and then let cool.

After this, place the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag and dispose in the trash. Do not flush moss balls down the toilet or put them in the compost. Once the moss balls have been removed from the aquarium, do not dispose of untreated water down the drain or into any residential water system or waterway. More information on how to treat aquarium contents can be found at

More information on zebra mussels can be found here:

Calling all BC Lake Stewardship and Monitoring Program Volunteers
It is time to dust off your sampling equipment! The BCLSS will be contacting Level 1 (Secchi and temp) volunteers to ensure you have everything you need for this monitoring season, which runs from April to September (or later for some lakes). Remember when planning your monitoring that we require at least 12 evenly spaced readings throughout the season and that these observations should be taken between 10 am and 2 pm.

The BCLSS and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy work in partnership on volunteer lake monitoring programs to ensure high quality data is collected from lakes in BC. This promotes community-based involvement and means healthier, better manage lakes in the province.

Ice On/Off Data
Ice events - the freeze and thaw dates of waterbodies - are easily recorded changes that, with the help of volunteer observers, can help us monitor the effects of climate change on our lakes. The BCLSS submits ice on and ice off data to IceWatch, part of the NatureWatch suite of national volunteer monitoring programs designed to help identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. Please submit the ice on and ice off dates of your lake to the BCLSS. A data form can be found here.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation PCAF Grants
The Public Conservation Assistance Fund provides small grants to organizations and individuals who need financial help to implement a conservation project. Approximately $150,000 is provided each year to help implement on-the-ground conservation work, with a particular focus on hands-on, community-based, and public awareness initiatives. Grants will be due in Spring 2021 - now is a good time to start thinking about projects. More information can be found on the HCTF website.
The BCLSS is available to help our members with applying for grants of all types. Please contact the office for assistance.


News and Information

Giant ice circles appear on Canadian lake, but where did they come from?

After more than 2 decades of searching, scientists finger cause of mass eagle deaths

Volunteer scuba divers clean up Metro Vancouver's lakes
Not a member of the BCLSS yet?
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Thank you to LUSH for funding the
BC Lake Stewardship Engagement Initiative
The BCLSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of British Columbia through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
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