Our goal is to raise awareness in the local community and beyond of the challenges we face. We are now members of the BCLSS (BC Lake Stewardship Society) and are working towards registering as a society. We have also entered into a Lake Stewardship lake testing program with the Ministry of Environment. This is a 3 year program. This is funded in part by the MOE (they provide equipment) and a small amount from the District of Mission. Volunteers are currently using their own boats and equipment and time. We need to keep funding going so we can rent the local hall when needed, we can print information flyers to inform local residents of upcoming events, we can create information booklets or flyers to inform farmers of best practices and that the lake is being monitored for runoff etc. We would also like to be able to broaden our reach by doing some social media marketing so more of the local area is aware of our efforts. If at some point in time we can raise funds through these formats, government grants, and other government funding we may be able to have a team working full time to address these lake concerns.
The cover photo is a picture of an algae bloom that happened in 2018 near the mouth of Legace Creek which feeds the lake. There were two dead sturgeon also in the summer of 2018. The Sturgeon were believed to be up to 33 years old (we are an oxbow lake off the Fraser River so they do live here). There were dead Carp and thousands of dead small fish and at least one dead duck. In 2018 there was a heat wave, large amounts of weeds, and a subsequent massive algae bloom. The lake was shut down to swimming for weeks due to this. This type of thing is going on across North America. Lakes that have never had these issues in some cases are not even usable any longer due to the extent of their algae blooms. Wildlife has virtually disappeared from these lakes. There is ample proof that Farming activity is the number one cause of these issues, as well as residential runoff containing similar contaminants such as pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals settle into the lake bed, and combined with other factors such as excessive weeds composting, shallow waters due to years of material build-up and silt from upstream activity, and normal creek flow they eventually overwhelm the ecosystem. Once the system is overwhelmed it becomes commonplace for these issues to occur. Anyone who has a fish tank knows that you need a full tank of water and to keep it clean or your fish will die. Algae blooms are also toxic (and deadly) often to humans and pets.
Our group was created and mobilized in 2018. We were successful in gaining media coverage, voicing concerns on our group page, and started a campaign of reaching out to local government and even as far as the Prime Ministers office. We subsequently created our various mandates for the betterment of the lake. All members of our group have to agree to our full group of mandates to be approved. Please see our website at www.hatziclakeimprovement.org
where you can learn even more about us.
We operate separately from the 3 main governing bodies in the area. FVRD (Fraser Valley Regional District) is responsible for the general area. They have been a tremendous help in facilitating meetings and getting the various ministries to the table. They are however also governing the majority of the farmland in the lower mainland. They have our interests at heart, but we believe we are more focused on the lake. DAID (Dewdney Area Improvement District) is generally responsible for managing lake levels and to prevent flooding (operation of flood gates, pumps etc.) as well as collecting Dyking fees etc. DAID helps where they can, however without getting to deep into the politics, there are different areas (Dewdney, Hatzic Prairie) that are primarily farms that also vote and may not "all" have as much interest in the lake specifics as we do. The District of Mission has been helpful and actually just recently unanimously voted to help fund our Lake Testing program. The District of Mission has a stake in this area as the economic benefits of the lake activity benefits all of Mission. There is also a small subdivision on the West side of the lake which is in their jurisdiction.
Bottom line is we believe it is time for their to be a group that is solely focused on the lake and making sure it is healthy for future generations of both humans and wildlife to enjoy.
If you can donate and help us keep the drive alive, that would be wonderful.