By Barbra Fairclough
With a focus on enhancing the fishery of White Lake, the White Lake Residents Association in partnership with the White Lake Stewardship Group and BC Government fishery officials have been focused on addressing foreign invasive fish species in the lake. Goldfish introduced many years ago are out competing the native trout species.
Two sessions of electroshocking have been conducted this summer with an effort to reduce the impact of the goldfish on the natural ecosystem of the lake. Goldfish are a competitive species and they will dominate over natural fish species, disrupting the natural ecosystem of the lake. The goal is to reduce the concentration of goldfish to the point where the natural and stocked species are more likely to be successful. Stocking of Pennask trout occurs annually and this year of the 45,000 trout stocked, 15,000 will be Blackwater trout. The Blackwater trout are naturally more competitive and have a more predatory behavior toward other fish.
The introduction of Blackwater as well as Pennask trout is with the focus of having a more competitive trout species to mitigate or possibly eliminate the impacts of the goldfish.
Fisheries officials conduct the stocking and oversee the health and wellbeing of fish to ensure that mishandling is not done.
White Lake Residents Association through its Water Quality Committee is embarking on a three year multi-faceted monitoring program. It will culminate in a comparative analysis of data collected over the last ten years. It will be possible to recognize the impacts of boaters, fishers, logging, and climate change. “As we collect data, we can see what parameters are changing with regards to flora, fauna, riparian zone and water
quality.” confirms Nick Najda, Chair of the WLRA Water Quality Committee.
Najda says, “Workshops are being conducted by a biologist who is helping in terms of scientific data collection and determining metrics we want to track over time.”
Using a train-the-trainer model the biologist conducted a half day workshop on different metrics such as water temperature, secchi depth, water, and plankton health. Deep Site water testing is done at the deepest part of the lake and this is where most of the monitoring will happen. “In July and August, we have had sets of volunteers trained in water monitoring.”
Over the year monitoring is done during ‘ice off’ and we will be gathering data to be submitted to the BC Lake Stewardship Society database. Monitoring ‘ice on’ ‘ice off’ dates, as well as the speed of ice-on, ice-off cycles, helps us to better understand the effects of global warming. As freeze-thaw cycles change, so will the hibernation and resting stages of lake animals and plants.
WLRA submitted a Forest Service Road Relocation Proposal to move the forest service road upland and away from the riparian zone within White Lake Park. Forest Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development officials agree that the forest service road in the White Lake Park Riparian zone is a source of sedimentation and potential contamination of the lake.
They committed preliminary funding to see if it is feasible to move the road out of the riparian zone.
While they are considering this, they have put a sign up at the forest service road to limit speed 15km per hour to help protect the foreshore.
To volunteer or get involved with the WLRA, visit WLRA.ca or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally printed on page 14 of the September 2020 edition of the South Shuswap Scoop
Picture: Biologist teaching volunteer lake keepers how to use the plankton net Photo credit: Nick Najda