8th Annual Kootenay Lake Summit Recap

8th Annual Kootenay Lake Summit Recap

Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who tuned in on March 8th & 9th to learn about and discuss boating and fisheries on Kootenay Lake. Over 100 individuals in our community took part and were eager to dive into these important topics.

There were a lot of great discussions that came out of this event as well as some awesome questions asked by audience members. Below are some highlights of each session:

 

Envisioning Sustainable Boating on Kootenay Lake:

  • The webinar was opened up with the song “Ride the Wave” by the Hillties and a poem called “When Beautiful is not Cliché” by Jane Byers
  • A brief background was provided on the topic of boating on Kootenay Lake
  • A moderated panel discussion took place. Some of the important discussion items included:
    • There has been an increase in the number, size, and types of boats on Kootenay Lake
    • There have been increased moorage and dock construction which are being built over sensitive fish habitat or made from harmful materials
    • Wake boats can disturb the sediment of the lake bottom
      • 8 meters and deeper is where you should be operating your wake boat- this gives you an optimal wake and protects the lake bottom
    • The North end of the lake isn’t as busy, but the West Arm is a big concern on Kootenay Lake
    • We need to find a common ground on creating a sustainable boating culture
    • More people are going to come to the lake, but we need to find a way to support these individuals while protecting the lake’s ecosystem
    • We have seen an increase of sewage on the lake- there needs to be more education on where you can dump your sewage
    • Lakes have a carrying capacity – if we exceed this capacity we can no longer enjoy the features we came to enjoy
    • We need to be strategic around where we construct marinas
    • There is a bit of a gap in terms of regulations on the lake:
      • Transport Canada is is responsible for majority of the regulations on the waterways- speed limits, safe shoreline distances, etc.
      • The only time Transport Canada can interfere with in terms of moorage is if a watercraft is blocking a navigable channel
      • Penny Caldwell is pushing for a waterfront bylaw for City of Nelson
    • On the KLP website there is a link to the shoreline guidelines that outline fisheries values, shoreline habitat values, and other important things to know
  • The panel was opened up to the audience for them to ask questions/voice their concerns

 

Some Important Ideas/Messaging from this Panel:

  • Increasing education- creating a community of knowledgeable recreation users
  • Making resources accessible to the public on what the rules and regulations are on the lake
  • Developing some sort of mapping system that outlines the sensitive areas on the lake and when and where boaters should avoid them

 

Restoring Kootenay Lake’s Fisheries:

  • The webinar was opened up with the song “Fletcher Falls Reverie” by Dave Carroll and poem called “Summers in the Kootenays” by Rayya Liebich
  • A brief background was provided on the topic of boating on Kootenay Lake
  • A moderated panel discussion took place. Some of the important discussion items included:
    • Significant decline on the lake is around main lake Kokanee and Rainbow and Bull Trout populations. These are the species the ministry is focusing on due to their importance recreationally, culturally, and ecologically
    • It’s important to note that there are concerns with Kokanee populations on the main lake, but in the West Arm their populations are not in decline or of concern
    • For Burbot and White Sturgeon there have been significant recovery efforts to restore these species- there is more work to be done
    • FortisBC holds the water license for Kootenay Lake but the operation is made by BCHydro and is impacted by other groups
      • Partnered with KOFAC and implemented a Shore-Spawning Protection Operation in the fall to encourage Kokanee to spawn lower down to prevent dewatering redds
      • There is peak spawning every 3 years
      • The water level height varies each year and there is a maximum level Fortis tries to stay below for flood protection and for a change in fall to protect shore spawners
    • Out of the 4 Ktunaxa communities in Canada, the Yaqan Nukiy community was the most dependent on fisheries
      • Around 90% of their food came from the lake- Burbot, White Sturgeon, and Kokanee and all of those have completely collapsed
      • There have been cultural losses due to this collapse
    • Kokanee are a keystone species, which poses huge shifts in the lake’s ecosystem
    • Dams have posed significant changes to the lake ecosystem and have impacted fish spawning
    • There were concerns from the panel that actions have not been happening fast enough to restore local fish populations
    • The Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program has been quite successful to help improve Kokanee populations, but due to the heat dome and Covid there have beens ome setbacks
    • Ministry runs spawning channels for compensation of loss of habitat
    • Ministry is partnering with other orgs to support and improve wild stream for Kokanee spawners
    • The ministry is following an adaptive management strategy that is trying to create a balance in the lake
      • The situation happening with main lake Kokanee populations is different from other lake ecosystems and it is a lot more complex
      • Trying to improve Kokanee pops through the 1) Nutrient Restoration Program and stocking Kokanee eggs in the lake and 2) Predation reduction
    • The panel was opened up to the audience for them to ask questions/voice their concerns

 

Some Important Ideas/Messaging from this Panel:

  • Anglers- encouraged to participate in the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program
  • This is a complex issue and there is no easy solution
  • Lake front owners- it’s important to keep your shorelines natural to provide wild habitat for
  • There needs to be more enforcement on provincial and federal level on the water and in taking action to put in restoration orders

 

Listen to the two panels on our Voices of the Lake Podcast here.

 


Topic 1 (March 8) Panelists: Envisioning Sustainable Boating on Kootenay Lake

Penny Caldwell

Owner of Sail Nelson

Penny Caldwell is the owner of Sail Nelson and the Instructor Evaluator for Sail Canada. She has lived in Nelson for the last 8 years and has experience in safe boating, boating education, knows the boating rules and regulations on the water, and aims to establish knowledgeable and sustainable boaters through her teaching.

 

 


Heather Larratt

Principle Biologist at Larratt Aquatic Consulting Ltd.

Heather Larratt  is a registered professional research biologist and is the owner of Larratt Aquatic Consulting (LAC) Ltd. in Kelowna, B.C.  She has over 40 years of experience in source to tap water quality and reservoir management. In 1985, she became involved in the reclamation of mine tailings ponds as wetlands and pit lakes as bioreactors using microflora. Ms. Larratt has expertise in the identification and treatment of algae problems in water supplies, and pit lake reclamation. Ms. Larratt was awarded the BC Water Supply Association MSC Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Water Supply Industry in 2014, and her work received the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee (TRCR) award for 20 years of research and implementation on the use of tailings ponds and pit lakes as aquatic habitat and passive water treatment facilities in 2017.

 


Dianna Ducs

Executive Director of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

As the executive director since 2011 I have been involved in marketing all around Kootenay Lake and engaged in conversations with people and  organizations impacted by tourism. With eight years of education (master of arts in leadership, arts degree and marketing diploma) and over 30 years of related work experience one of my passions is to keep our region awesome through informative messaging, participation, and engagement at all levels. FOLKS plays a very important role in tourism sustainability: the conservation of our lake, preservation of our communities, lifestyle and economic development through tourism.

 


Kenton Andreashuk

Sr. Fisheries Guardian for Ktunaxa Nation Council

When I am not on Kootenay Lake for work or play I can often be found with my family on the ski hill or on Slocan River when the snow is gone. I am fortunate to have spent much of my career and personal time on Kootenay Lake and I have seen many changes on the lake.  My nearly thirty-year career in fisheries work has provided me with a background in habitat assessment, restoration and inventory and in fisheries conservation compliance and enforcement. As a federally designated Fishery Guardian for the Ktunaxa Nation I am responsible for fish habitat and Species at Risk (White Sturgeon) habitat protection and Aquatic Invasive Species prevention on Kootenay Lake and for other locations.

 


Topic 2  (March 9) Panelists: Restoring Kootenay Lake’s Fisheries

Matt Neufeld

Fish & Aquatic Habitat Section Head for Kootenay-Boundary

Matt Neufeld grew up on the shores of the west arm of Kootenay Lake, where he developed a strong connection to the resource and region.  A keen angler, Matt is also a Professional Biologist in BC with more than 25 years experience in fisheries management.  For the last 20 years, Matt has worked out of Nelson for the Province in a number of roles as a fisheries biologist, and now heads the Fish and Aquatic Habitat section for the Kootenay Boundary Region.

 

 


Harvey Andrusak

Former Regional Fisheries Biologist for the Kootenays and former Director of Fisheries

As regional biologist for the Kootenays from 1968-1988 Harvey developed specialized expertise in kokanee, Gerrard rainbow trout and sturgeon biology. Moving to Victoria in 1988 Harvey undertook the role of manager of Fish Culture in charge of the provincial hatchery program. During this tenure Harvey directed the development and ultimately completion of the Vancouver Island hatchery. After two assignments as Regional Director in Prince George and later in Ft. St. John Harvey was appointed Director of the Fisheries Program in 1995 and remained Director until his retirement in 1997. He now works as a part time fisheries consultant often working with the Ministry of Environment.

 


James Baxter

Aquatics Biologist with FortisBC

James Baxter is an Aquatics Biologist for FortisBC based out of Castlegar, B.C., and he has a M.Sc. from UBC where his thesis addressed the biology and ecology of Bull Trout. He has worked in the Kootenay Region for the past 25 years as a private consultant, and for BC Hydro in various roles addressing fisheries issues. His current role focuses on addressing and mitigating the aquatic impacts of hydroelectric operations.

 


Kenton Andreashuk

Sr. Fisheries Guardian for Ktunaxa Nation Council

When I am not on Kootenay Lake for work or play I can often be found with my family on the ski hill or on Slocan River when the snow is gone. I am fortunate to have spent much of my career and personal time on Kootenay Lake and I have seen many changes on the lake.  My nearly thirty-year career in fisheries work has provided me with a background in habitat assessment, restoration and inventory and in fisheries conservation compliance and enforcement. As a federally designated Fishery Guardian for the Ktunaxa Nation I am responsible for fish habitat and Species at Risk (White Sturgeon) habitat protection and Aquatic Invasive Species prevention on Kootenay Lake and for other locations.

 


Marley Bassett (part-time panelist)

Fish Restoration Biologist and Project Lead on the Nutrient Restoration Program

Marley Bassett is a Fish Restoration Biologist at the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, where she coordinates and delivers the three nutrient restoration programs on Kootenay Lake and Arrow Lakes Reservoir. Marley has been involved in fisheries and the nutrient restoration programs since 2007. Marley lives in Nelson and enjoys biking, skiing and camping in the region. Please email marley.bassett@gov.bc to contact Marley.

 


Agenda:

  • 7:00: Welcome, acknowledgements, housekeeping
  • 7:10: Short presentation on topic
  • 7:20: Moderated panel discussion
  • 7:40: Break
  • 7:45: Audience Q & A
  • 8:25: Closing

 

Special thanks to our funders and sponsors: