Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association Calls on Provincial Government to Act on Milfoil and Siltation Issues
The Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association Board would like to thanks the RDOS and Laratt Aquatic for the study on Vaseux Lake’s water quality, siltation and milfoil proliferation. The study identified some good recommendations for milfoil control and highlighted the serious siltation problem at the north end of Vaseux Lake.
The Association does have one concern relating to the conclusion that milfoil growth in Vaseux Lake is the same as 40 years ago without having any kind of context relating to the record flooding in 2017 and 2018 added in the study.
It was obvious to all home owners on Vaseux Lake that there had been a major reduction in milfoil in 2017 and 2018 which was not the norm and the Association advised RDOS in early August 2017 when water levels were still at record highs at Vaseux Lake that it was not a good time to start the water study. It was felt the flooding would impact key results especially around the milfoil proliferation and overall water quality since the lake was being flushed out twice a week and water levels had been at record highs for months. During certain points in both the spring 2018 and summer of 2017, Okanagan River broke 100 years of water flow records at the mouth of Vaseux Lake dating back to 1913. Water levels at Vaseux Lake in the spring 2018 and summer 2017 were also broken dating back to when Vaseux Lake water level data collection started in 1991.
It is well documented that milfoil growth is very much impacted by an increase or decrease in water flow, water depth, water clarity or temperature variations and all these parameters were affected by the flooding.
The study does provide some good insight on the siltation and various water quality issues that would not have been impacted by the flooding and does make some sound recommendations.
There is no doubt that within a few years milfoil will be back in Vaseux Lake unless the rototiller is authorized.
It is more important than ever to get the rototiller in the lake in 2019 to keep the milfoil from proliferating again. After 3 years of waiting, the Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association is calling on the Provincial Government to authorize a pilot project that has been requested by the Okanagan Basin Water Board in partnership with the Okanagan Nation Alliance to test the Rototiller in Vaseux Lake.
Finally the siltation at the North end of the Lake is getting so bad that large section of Vaseux Lake is now being lost. The Province needs to look at dredging the mouth of Vaseux Lake and create a large sedimentary pond to slow the siltation of the lake.
The small pond in Shuttleworth Creek is simply not large enough to contain the silt that comes down the creek every spring.
There also needs to be a more comprehensive study to determine the cause of the increase in silt flowing into Vaseux Lake and how to reduce it.
Submitted by Norm Gaumont
Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association