New Okanagan-built rototiller to join milfoil control fleet: The board was updated on the building of a new rototiller which should be completed by April. The machine, built by a Kelowna company, will complement three older machines (between 14 and 34 years old). The Water Board uses the rototillers in winter to de-root the invasive weed from Okanagan lakes when it won’t re-root. In summer, the weed is mowed and removed with special harvesters.
Pressure for stronger invasive mussel action building: Directors discussed a number of letters sent by the board, but also others, pushing for increased efforts to address the threat of invasive zebra and quagga mussels. While the OBWB sent a letter to the federal government last week, letters have been also sent to the Province of B.C. from the Southern Interior Local Government Association, District of Coldstream and the Shuswap Watershed Council. There is concern that another boating season is around the corner and while the province has responded that they are reviewing their invasive mussel program, there has been no apparent movement on the federal side
Elections and Awards
Water Board re-elects chair and vice-chair: Directors re-elected RDCO Dir. (and Kelowna City Councillor) Tracy Gray as chair, and RDNO Dir. (Vernon City Coun.) Juliette Cunningham as vice-chair for 2018. Both were elected by acclamation. Additional board members include, representing RDNO: Doug Dirk (Coldstream Coun.) and Rick Fairbairn (Electoral Area D. Dir.); for RDCO: Doug Findlater (West Kelowna Mayor), Cindy Fortin (Peachland Mayor); and for RDOS: Sue McKortoff (Osoyoos Mayor), Ron Hovanes (Oliver Mayor), and Peter Waterman (Summerland Mayor). Also, Water Management Appointments include: Lisa Wilson (Okanagan Nation Alliance), Toby Pike (Water Supply Association of BC), and Brian Guy (Okanagan Water Stewardship Council).
“A River Film” wins Award of Excellence: Jiri and Lucie Bakala of Kelowna-based Ascent Films Inc., won an Impact DOCS Award of Excellence for “A River Film” last week. The film was produced for the International Joint Commission in collaboration with the Washington State Dept. of Ecology & the OBWB-Okanagan WaterWise. The 38-minute documentary puts a spotlight on the Okanagan River and Osoyoos Lake, and how competing needs for water in this complex transboundary watershed are balanced. Copies of the film are now available at Okanagan Regional Library branches. Copies are also available for screenings.