Kootenay Lake is a beautiful and productive ecosystem supporting abundant fish and wildlife, while its clean water supports communities all around its shores. Since 2012, Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society has been working as a non-profit to improve the health and stewardship of Kootenay Lake through monitoring, habitat restoration, capacity building, and the empowerment of local communities, First Nations, and stakeholders. Our donors directly support the stewardship of the lake for future generations by allowing us to continue ensuring that Kootenay Lake and all species that call it home are cared for, and volunteers are at the center of all of our projects. We invite you to help us keep up this good work!
We are asking for community support to make it through a difficult financial period while we collaborate with locals to turn next year's priorities into projects, and while we apply for grants that will allow us to successfully execute those projects. We are currently in the process of applying for Charitable status, which would positively change our fundraising prospects in the future. Your support will give us time to build financial systems that will support charitable status, and to ensure that we adopt industry best practices. Donors like you are the heart that keeps Friends of Kootenay Lake going – every community member has a role to play!
Your support will allow us to continue the important and cost-effective work that we have been doing around the lake, including:
This program utilizes the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Inventory Network (CABIN) national water quality monitoring protocol to assess water quality through the collection and analysis of macroinvertebrate aquatic insect populations. Through this program, we offer free annual CABIN training to interested community members (Figure 1). Trained volunteers are then invited to attend monitoring trips. This program will create a network of informed citizens and increase our capacity to monitor our watershed.
As such, osprey are considered a worldwide sentinel species for aquatic ecosystems, and monitoring their reproductive success can help inform changes within aquatic food webs. Free workshops are provided annually in May where interested stewards can learn how to monitor osprey nests and volunteer with Friends of Kootenay Lake to collect data on osprey breeding activity. Those who participate in the workshops receive an opportunity to assist us in our annual osprey monitoring surveys where we travel by boat up and down the lake. Citizen science opportunities are also available, where volunteers can monitor osprey nests on their own time and submit their data to FoKLSS.
Shore-spawning kokanee salmon are a genetically distinct species of kokanee is Kootenay Lake. Shore Spawning Kokanee numbers in the West Arm are declining, which Martin (1979) and Andrusak and Northcote (1989) suggest is attributed to changes in the hydrograph due to hydroelectric operations. Shore-spawning kokanee redds become dewatered as lake levels are lowered in early spring, fatally stranding fry on shore. This project focuses on collecting data and restoring habitat for Shore Spawning Kokanee in Kootenay Lake’s West Arm. Gravel installed at a lower elevation than current rearing habitat will encourage Kokanee to spawn at elevations unaffected by fluctuations in the hydrograph. It is expected that Kokanee will show a preference for restored habitat, reducing the risk of redds being de-watered in the spring.
Thank you from the entire FoKLSS team!