The significance of the health of Okanagan Lake to all living systems cannot be underestimated.
A new forthcoming report by Ecoscape Environmental Consultants for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, entitled “Foreshore Inventory and Mapping Update Report 2016” underscores what is happening to the foreshore surrounding Okanagan Lake.
Shoreline areas have been mapped using a system called Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM).
To understand what FIM achieves, here is direct quote from the report: “This assessment conducts inventories of shoreline areas, using boat and creating spatial data sets using Geographical Information System (GIS). This repeated exercise has been completed on the 290km of Okanagan Lake three times with the first inventory occurring in 2004.
“The technical data in this report contains key information regarding the status of Okanagan Lake, and particularly the rate that the lake shoreline is transitioning from natural to disturbed as a result of anthropogenic alteration.”
The purpose of the report is to give resource managers hard data leading to the implementation of better shoreline management.
My biggest takeaway from the Ecoscapes report is that we are losing our natural shoreline areas due to development.
“If there is a true desire to protect Okanagan Lake, urgent action is necessary to ensure that we educate the public and develop regulation or policy to protect what matters.
“However, if careful management does not occur the risks are high that over time, key habitat functions, ecosystem services like clean water and habitat connectivity may b permanently lost.”
The RDOS, with funding from RBC Blue Water Fund, is also taking a pro-active stance about foreshore health and has rolled out a series of free presentations throughout the South Okanagan.
The final presentation will take place on Saturday, May 6 between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Kaleden Community Hall, 320 Lakehill Road.
Three experts will discuss how to maintain healthy habitat in riparian areas. The topics will include: how to protect natural habitats, how to use easy care hardy plants to act as a green buffer between your property and waterways, how you can identify and keep out invasive species and will cover regulations for homeowners along waterways, shorelines and beachfronts.
Anyone interested is welcome to attend!
Additionally, the big fund raising annual plant sale taking place at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens is happening on May 6 and May 7 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. both days.
This year’s plant sale includes presentations on using drought-tolerant plants. You can drop by and hear the speakers and also buy plants!