The Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) presides over the Columbia Lake and promises to take their stewardship seriously by preserving the natural ecosystems and beauty inherent to Columbia Lake. The passionate conservationists formulated a new stewardship group in the East Kootenay after establishing there was growing concern by several residents and landowners on the lake.
“We officially incorporated as a non-profit organization, initiated lake monitoring every two weeks including water sampling and co-sponsorship with the communities of Culmer, Timber Spring, Spirits Reach, Columbia Ridge and Canal Flats,” said Tracy Flynn, founding member of CLSS.
After receiving a grant, the water activist group started working on stewardship activities for promoting awareness of their group by developing a tool-kit for lake users, clean-up initiatives, and distribution of educational materials on protecting and preserving the lake from foreign plant species (invasives) to Columbia Lake residents and users.
“We received $3,400 in funding from the Regional District of the East Kootenay (RDEK) through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, in order to purchase water quality monitoring equipment and to finance water testing for 2014,” said Ms. Flynn. “We also received funding from the RDEK electoral Area F discretionary grant-in-aid in the amount of $2,100 to cover our first year’s operational expenses — the communities around the lake have shown their support with financial donations and in supplying volunteers for the water monitoring program.”
The formative catalyst for the society originated with the community meeting “Columbia Lake and Our Watershed,” which received support and recognition from fellow water conservators the Lake Windermere Ambassadors. The success of the meeting inspired a vision and a mission statement that helped establish contact with local stewardship organizations dedicated to lake monitoring.
“CLSS will act as a citizen-oriented, water stewardship group for Columbia Lake by encouraging activities and strategies which oversee, monitor, and help sustain its ecology — our vision is to preserve the pristine nature of the lake for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Ms. Flynn.
As part of forming a fully comprehensive strategy, CLSS will be consulting with other networks in the regional watersheds, such as the BC Lake Stewardship Society, CBWN, Living Lakes Canada and the Lake Windermere Ambassadors.
“We’ve had a great first year and we are thankful for all the support we’ve been given — especially for the mentorship and guidance we received from the LWA,” Ms. Flynn said. “On beautiful mornings, it’s easy to put into words why I love the Columbia Lake and think it’s worth protecting and caring for — the deer are heading down for a drink and it’s picture perfect beautiful. We are lucky to have an unspoiled water source at our doorstep and it’s so important to keep it that way.”