A milfoil harvester removes the invasive species from Shuswap Lake. (File photo)

Lower lake levels could create bumper crop of invasive milfoil

The CSRD board received an update on efforts to suppress the invasive aquatic plant

Lower than average snow packs and lake levels could lead to a bumper crop of Eurasian milfoil in Shuswap Lake this summer.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board received an overview of annual reports from the regional district’s milfoil control program, courtesy of environmental services co-ordinator Hamish Kassa at their June 20 meeting. Kassa said the program’s main goal is to reduce impacts on recreation and biodiversity caused by the invasive aquatic plant.

Kassa said an increased nuisance from the plants is expected this year as a lower-than-average snowpack has led to lower lake levels that could allow more sunlight to reach the milfoil. 2018 saw a relatively small amount of milfoil removed with 33.5 tonnes coming out of the lake. This was only a fraction of the 2016 harvest which totalled 164.5 tonnes.

Read More: Vernon and Sicamous cannabis stores get provincial nod

Read More: Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Unsettled skies dominate the week’s forecast

Kassa said if need be, the program can scale up their harvesting efforts to seven days a week. He likened it to budgeting for snow removal, as the milfoil’s growth rate is dependent on unpredictable environmental factors like available sunlight, nutrient uptake and water chemistry.

Kassa said that while the goal of eradicating the stubborn milfoil is not achievable it can be controlled. He explained the entire Shuswap system is infested with the weeds and they are likely here to stay but through management, their prevalence can be greatly reduced. With the right mix of soil and other conditions, Kassa said a 90 per cent reduction in the size of weed beds is achievable.

Mayor Terry Rysz asked Kassa if the milfoil is prevalent in the Sicamous channel and what effect dredging the channel would have on its prevalence. Kassa said the channel is one of their top priority sites and milfoil has been well-established there since 1979. He said if they were to stop treating the channel, which runs between Shuswap and Mara Lakes, its navigability by boats would quickly decline. He added that a buildup of silt does add to the problem.

Along with their control work in the milfoil-infested Shuswap Lake system, Kassa spoke of the monitoring work they do on other lakes in the area.

Read More: Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

Read More: Regional district planners tour South Shuswap for new zoning bylaw

CSRD Electoral Area F director Rene Talbot asked specifically about monitoring at high-altitude lakes such as Spa, Arthur and Boolean Lakes, which are clustered just north of Falkland. Kassa said they monitor most lakes that have boat launches since milfoil most often spreads on boats.

According to the 2018 milfoil program report, Joyce Lake, Gardom Lake and the portion of Adams Lake which is within the CSRD boundary were surveyed for milfoil between September and December 2018. The surveys found no milfoil.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Kelowna hockey seasons return in 6 weeks

The Kelowna Chiefs are the latest to release their upcoming schedule

WWII hero draws huge crowd in Kelowna

Around 1,000 people came out to hear the story of Marthe Cohn, the heroic Jewish French spy

$1.4 million Rowcliffe Park development in Kelowna complete

The first phase of the park was completed in 2017

Two Kelowna robbers have been court charged

Paul Davis Houle and Tyler Brice Rathbone face break and enter charges

Fire destroys storage unit business in Kelowna

The fire was reported at Hawkeye Holdings just after 2 p.m. Thursday

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

Arrest made in vandalism of the former home of man charged with South Okanagan murders

RCMP confirmed one person has been arrested in relation to the alleged vandalism

Respected wildlife artist in the Okanagan dies

According to a post by his family, Terry Isaac died on July 16

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Auto theft numbers decline in Princeton; thefts from vehicles on the increase

Policing statistics show changing trends in rural community

Most Read