The Shuswap Watershed Council has released its 2019 water quality report. (Mike Simpson photo)

The Shuswap Watershed Council has released its 2019 water quality report. (Mike Simpson photo)

Algae bloom highlights nutrient concerns in Shuswap water quality report

Shuswap Watershed Council releases 2019 water quality report

Algae blooms are among the items addressed in a water quality report that, in general, speaks well of the watershed, but highlights areas of concern still to be addressed.

The Shuswap Watershed Council’s (SWC) water quality report for 2019 is now public. That its release should occur while an algae bloom is visible throughout a large portion of Shuswap Lake was not lost on the council.

“It’s not unusual for small algal blooms to occur in Shuswap Lake, and other lakes in the region,” says SWC lead and spokesperson Erin Vieira in a media release accompanying the report. “Algae are a natural part of a lake ecosystem. However, the blooms that we’re experiencing this year have persisted for longer than they typically do in Shuswap Lake.” The report explains algae blooms occur when the number of algae rapidly increase due to a change in conditions in the lake, such as an influx of nutrients or sunlight.

Nutrients phosphorous and nitrogen are vital to an aquatic ecosystem, the report reads, but excessive nutrients can lead to algae growth, a reduction in water clarity, odours and compromise the quality of drinking water.

The report addresses water quality in local lakes and rivers, and summarizes a recently completed three-year nutrient research project the SWC did with researchers at UBC Okanagan. It states the largest loads of nutrients entering Shuswap Lake were coming from the Shuswap and Salmon rivers, and notes nutrient concentrations in Mara Lake have been trending upwards since the 1990s.

Read more: Algae bloom in Shuswap Lake deemed large but low risk

Read more: Shuswap Lake algae bloom being monitored, not considered harmful

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Electoral Area C director and SWC chair Paul Demenok said work is now being done to develop new ways to mitigate the amount of nutrients flowing into Shuswap and Mara lakes so that, ultimately, the frequency and severity of blooms don’t increase.

“Our research with UBC-Okanagan has shown us where we need to focus our efforts,” said Demenok. “This year, we are working with four farms in the Salmon River Valley and two stewardship organizations to support new nutrient management initiatives.”

Also covered within the report are the ongoing efforts to address Eurasian water milfoil in Shuswap Lake and keep out other invasives such as quagga and zebra mussels. The report notes the temperature, pH and calcium concentrations of Shuswap Lake make it well suited for mussels. The typical high influx of boats in the summertime add to the risk.

“Zebra and quagga mussels are two species of fresh-water mussels native to Europe and Asia with tremendous destructive potential due to their ability to attach to any object in the water: boats, water supply pipes, irrigation systems, dock pilings, hydro-electric facilities, and more,” reads the report.

The SWC adds that so far the Shuswap watershed is free of invasive mussels, and that the most important preventative measures are for boat owners to always clean, drain and dry their boat whenever they move it out of a lake or river.

The water quality report can be found at shuswapwater.ca. Print copies of the report will soon be available from all municipal, First Nations and regional government offices and at library branches across the Shuswap.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Shuswap Lake

Just Posted

McGuire Lake will be on the route of a new Active Loop created around Salmon Arm’s downtown. (File photo)
You’re invited to try a new Active Loop around Salmon Arm’s downtown

Loop created by Downtown Salmon Arm covers about 4.5 kilometres and takes about an hour

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to three incidents involving women concerned for their own safety between June 13 and 17, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP respond to concerns about women being watched, followed

In one of three incidents a woman was invited into a vehicle but declined

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearm, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District advises residents to check on regulations before installing or changing docks, buoys or swimming platforms. (CSRD image)
Stop before you install that dock, buoy or swim platform in a Shuswap lake

Columbia Shuswap Regional District advises residents to check first as regulations may apply

Gift from the Heart on June 26 offers no-cost dental hygiene to people who can’t otherwise afford it. First booked, first served. (File photo)
Day for no-cost dental hygiene treatment coming up in Salmon Arm

Smile People clinic takes part in Gift from the Heart, first booked, first served basis

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

Most Read