The Kalavista Lagoon in Coldstream has some odour and water stagnation issues which the district is looking at dealing with. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Lagoon preservation promoted

Preservation of Coldstream water feature urged by local biologist

Pressure is surfacing to get a natural habitat in Coldstream back to its roots.

The district has been looking at options for the Kalavista Lagoon, which has been deteriorating over the years and causing odour concerns.

Local biologist Simone Runyan grew up in the area and is concerned about the state of the lagoon.

“I have watched it deteriorate since the ’80s,” said Runyan, who made improvement suggestions to Coldstream council Monday evening.

She says a considerable amount of dredging needs to take place to dig out the metre-thick sludge and in-fill that has accumulated.

“It (lagoon) is only 2.5 feet deep right now,” said Runyan, adding that dredging was a routine practice historically. “If that isn’t taken out, the lagoon will continue to infill and will become a marsh.

“Right now at the bottom of the lagoon there is no vegetation. It’s just muck, deep muck. And when you put a paddle in it you get a bubble of methane…and that’s what creates that smell.”

An estimated 40-50 dump truck loads need to be removed, which Runyan has estimated to cost $30,000. Removal of the sediment is estimated at $62,000, plus $5,000 for capture and holding of the turtles and $10,000 for approvals from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Ministry of Environment. Or if the lake levels drop enough to dry out the lagoon, which has happened in past years, it could be excavated.

“There may even be funds available for larger projects such as dredging, because without it, there would be the loss of turtle habitat,” said Runyan.

But Coldstream is still considering its options and waiting for more information, which it plans to make public.

“There has been no firm direction here,” said Mayor Jim Garlick. “The main thing we’re moving ahead on is carp removal.”

Runyan suggests the carp removal is an easy first step to protecting the lagoon.

“The carp are essentially aquatic pigs, they root up everything,” said Runyan, suggesting a carp gate or fence be installed after the fish leave in the fall and before they return to the warm, shallow lagoon to breed in the spring. “It will also have benefits to Kalamalka Lake as well as they need the warm shallow water as a breeding ground.”

Another nuisance species is the Canada goose.

“Right now, the lawn to the log house you wouldn’t want to sit down, it’s covered in goose poop,” said Runyan, who suggests low hedges or fences be installed to deter the geese from entering the lagoon.

A viewing area and formation of a lagoon committee have also been suggested.

“This will be continued,” said Garlick.

Meanwhile, at least one neighbour is pleased to see efforts continue to preserve the water feature.

“After years and years of trying to solve the lagoon problem, I’m really happy that council is trying again,” said Kalavista Road resident Flo Ryan.

jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com