Formed in 2012, Friends of Kootenay Lake (FOKL) is an inclusive, stewardship organization dedicated to sustaining a healthy Kootenay Lake for future generations. The lake’s authentic nature instills a sense of “place” for its residents. Salient values include sustaining ecosystem integrity, clean water, and natural fish and wildlife habitat, and promoting human well-being through sustainable livelihoods and preserving the lake’s culture and spiritual essence.
Kootenay Lake is a productive ecosystem supporting abundant fish and wildlife, with land and water uses that support clean water and long-term sustainable communities. Residents and other stakeholders have a strong sense of place and engage actively in lake stewardship and governance.
Our mission is to improve the health and stewardship of Kootenay Lake through monitoring, habitat restoration, capacity building and the empowerment of local communities and stakeholders.
Here is a short film on Friends of Kootenay Lake and the importance of lake stewardship:
What’s At Stake
Kootenay Lake is a world-class awesomeness full of enormous trout and clean water, with a rich cultural heritage, and surrounded by beautiful people. History has shown that without diligence on the part of local people, the values that lakes provide can be lost over time. Development pressures without appropriate planning can result in irreversible damage. Cumulative impacts from shoreline development, increasing recreational demands, impacts from upstream industrial and/or hydro-electric development, and climate change all present challenges for protecting the lake’s many features and values.
What We Do
Friends of Kootenay Lake provides a platform for broad array of stakeholders to collaboratively learn about the lake and its many values, identify potential threats to the lake’s social and ecological values, conduct scientific inquiry into the issues, and propose solutions. We encourage a broader and deeper understanding the lake’s ecosystems and strive to build cooperative relationships among Kootenay Lake communities.
We provide a central location for lakeside communities to share information, collaborate, and learn about Kootenay Lake. FOKL holds workshops, monitors indicators of lake health, and assists community members in developing and implementing ideas to improve or protect the lake. Through our website, we provide an online gathering place for people concerned about the lake to learn more, connect with each other, and share knowledge.
FOKL also helps residents to participate in planning initiatives to improve lake management. An inter-governmental group called the Kootenay Lake Partnership (KLP) is presently developing a Shoreline Guidance Document with the purpose of protecting shoreline resources. This document is being developed through rigorous scientific research, and incorporates both environmental and First Nations cultural values to form a baseline for improved decision-making. In the long term, FOKL will work with the KLP and lake-side communities to develop a lake management plan to harmonize regulation, coordinate enforcement, and improve protection of the lake.
What You Can Do
Every lakeside community member has a role to play in protecting the lake’s immense value. If you care about Kootenay Lake and want to preserve its natural values for generations to come, you can check out the Take Part tab on this website, look for events and actions taking place over the next few months, or you can contact us with specific questions about the program.