The B.C. government has provided clarity on where the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is allowed to rototill for milfoil in lakes located in the Okanagan.
Rototilling is the process the OBWB uses to mechanically remove invasive milfoil along the bottom of Okanagan lakes.
OBWB grants manager James Littley said the new maps show where the board is only allowed to rototill for milfoil in depths greater than one meter around Paddlewheel Park and depths greater than 1.5 meters around Kin Beach in Vernon.
Littley said the province has also lifted a ban on rototilling around the Casa Loma Resort in Okanagan Lake and around the north end of Osoyoos Lake.
Littley said the new rototilling restrictions around Vernon could create a milfoil hazard for recreationists if nothing is done to address the issue over time.
“If we get hot and dry year, it could show a thick layer of milfoil on top of the water,” said Littley.
“The milfoil can become hazardous for swimmers. There have been drownings attributed to milfoil in the United States.”
Littley said there was some concern from senior levels of government about the impact rototilling would have on the endangered Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussels, however, according to the B.C. government, the mussel is only found in the Okanagan Valley and is currently listed as “special concern” under federal legislations.
Littley said the board has entered into a five-year agreement with the B.C. government to abide by the new rototilling regulations.