Aquatic index seeking support

Aquatic habitat index pursued on Kalamalka and Wood lakes

While Kalamalka Lake is already known to many as a jewel, work is underway to determine just how precious the lake is.

An aquatic habitat index is going to be created for Kalamalka and Wood Lakes to better identify the most important lake segments.

The index will determine the relative habitat value of the shoreline, using a very high to very low classification system.

In hopes of obtaining some funding for the project, Susan Latimer with the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP), presented the plan to Coldstream council Monday.

“You’re going to get an idea of how much of the high value is in your jurisdiction,” said Latimer.

“This is going to give us some information so everyone can use it for planning and other things and it can be used for enforcements as well.”

An index was recently created on Okanagan Lake, and as an example Latimer points out that a fairly high portion of the lake is rated as very high and high.

She also explained that: “At the rate of new development on the (Okanagan) lake it would go from 57 per cent disturbed to 80 per cent disturbed by 2020.”

Coldstream is being asked to provide $1,500 towards the project.

Meanwhile Lake Country, which has the largest area surround the entirety of Wood Lake and southern portion of Kal, is being asked fro $3,000.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has tentatively confirmed $1,500 towards the project and $1,000 is anticipated from the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake.

Coun. Gyula Kiss suggests Vernon should be contributing the project since it draws water from Kal for many of its residents.

Latimer pointed out that Vernon does not border the lake, and when the Okanagan Lake index was done Coldstream was not asked to contribute.

“But we don’t draw water from Okanagan Lake,” said Kiss.

Coldstream will consider the grant request during its 2012 budget deliberations, which begin Monday. The district has a total of $8,000 in grant money to distribute to such projects.