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

Photos from Kelowna’s 39th annual Terry Fox Run

Residents of Kelowna took on cancer in the rain and had a blast.

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Grades dropped from B.C. report cards

New format in place for K-9

Roaring start carries Vernon Panthers to victory

The Panthers defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 40-0 in exhibition play Friday

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Most Read