Shuswap Lake's recent algal blooms causing concern over water quality | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Shuswap Lake's recent algal blooms causing concern over water quality

Shuswap Lake
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Shuswap Watershed Council is raising the alarm to the province about “deteriorating water quality” in Shuswap Lake.

The Shuswap Watershed Council has written a letter to Minister of Environment George Heyman, calling for more action and intervention from the province to prevent future algal blooms in Shuswap Lake, according to a press release issued by the council, Oct. 19.

READ MORE: Algae bloom on Shuswap Lake prompts cautionary advisory

The council is concerned about deteriorating water quality with two widespread long-lasting algal blooms in the lake in the last three years.

“Salmon Arm Bay, Tappen Bay, and downstream toward Canoe and Herald Provincial Park were impacted by algal blooms in 2020 and this summer,” according to the council.

“The letter mentions the SWC’s concerns about the overall health of the lake, as well as how algal blooms could be impacting fish and wildlife, the safety of drinking water, recreational enjoyment of the lake and the tourism economy."

The council is also concerned about the potential for these algal booms to become toxic.

“The SWC is doing its part by administering a grant program that provides financial assistance to farms and stewardship groups to improve nutrient management, thereby retaining nutrients on the landscape, not washing off or leaching into creeks and rivers that flow into Shuswap or Mara Lake."

READ MORE: Giant algae bloom in Shuswap Lake dissipates

The watershed council has also released a guide for locals to help reduce their “‘phosphorus footprint.”

“We’ve done water quality research, created a grant program to support better nutrient management, and most recently we’ve published an educational Phosphorus Action Plan for the watershed,” says Jay Simpson, chair of the Shuswap Watershed Council, in the press release.

“However, we’re not a regulatory group. We don’t have any authority over pollution or nutrient loading. That’s where the province must act.”


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