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Shuswap Lake seeing high E. coli count at Sunnybrae Beach, also emerging algae bloom

A June 28 advisory referred to an ‘emerging algal bloom’ in Salmon Arm Bay and Sunnybrae/Canoe Point
This June 29, 2022 map from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District shows areas affected by an advisory regarding a possible algae bloom. (CSRD map)

Problems are appearing for Shuswap Lake this week.

On Tuesday, June 28, the Shuswap Watershed Council and Interior Health warned of an ‘emerging algal bloom’ in Salmon Arm Bay and at Sunnybrae/Canoe Point, which includes the Sunnybrae area.

On Wednesday, June 29, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District announcedSunnybrae Beach had been placed on a Beach Water Quality Advisory due to unacceptable E.coli bacterial counts found in recent routine water samples.

“The beach is not closed. However, Interior Health is advising that due to the elevated water sample results, the public should be made aware of the increased risk of swimming at Sunnybrae Beach, which is located at 3580 Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road, Tappen,” reads the CSRD announcement.

While Sunnybrae Community Beach Park is remaining open for public use, users are advised to refrain from activities in which a person’s whole body and face are frequently immersed in the water. Users are reminded not to ingest any untreated water.

The CSRD states the advisory does not affect the CSRD’s Sandy Beach or Pebble Beach in Blind Bay.

According to Interior Health, elevated E.coli levels can be caused by a number of factors such as geese and other wildlife. The weather can also contribute, with heavy rains washing contaminants off the shore and into the wate​r or by temperatures increasing bacterial growth.

In other news regarding Shuswap Lake, after two days of lake levels dropping slightly, in the 24 hours between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, the lake rose 0.043 metres from 348.905 m to 348.948 m.

In 2018, when flooding occurred, the lake peaked at 349.141 m.

Read more: ‘Emerging algal bloom’ reported on Shuswap Lake

Read more: Level of Shuswap Lake drops slightly two days in a row

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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