High elevation monitoring kicks off in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

·2 min read

The effect of climate change on high level lakes in the West Kootenay is theme of a new pilot study launched by Living Lakes Canada.

Called the High Elevation Monitoring Program, the goal of the study is to begin formulating and collecting baseline data in order to understand how the chemical and biological components of the lakes are functioning.

“Once this baseline is established, we can continue to monitor over time and understand how chemical and biological components in the lakes are responding to climate change,” said Heather Shaw, Living Lakes Canada program manager, in a press release.

Living Lakes Canada is a national non-profit organization based in B.C.’s Columbia Basin concerned with the long-term protection of Canada’s freshwater.

Earlier this month the High Elevation program was launched in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, with “loggers” installed in Sapphire Lakes, Tanal Lake and Upper Joker Lake to track the changes in water levels.

Additionally, temperature and light loggers have been installed in Upper Joker Lake.

“We understand that high elevation ecosystems are especially sensitive to climate change. They are also challenging to monitor,” Shaw explained. “We don’t currently have a good understanding of the climate impacts on water quantity and quality in these areas.”

People can watch the on-site program update from Sapphire Lakes at https://youtu.be/GjlsW_6K1-k

Inventory this

People in Nelson can help with the pilot project as well.

For those who venture into Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park Living Lakes Canada is asking people to help create an inventory of plant and animal species within the park boundaries.

This data collection is made easy thanks to the popular and easy-to-use citizen science application, iNaturalist, noted Shaw.

The application can be downloaded to a cell phone before heading to the backcountry, with a search for “Kokanee Glacier — High Elevation Monitoring” project.

Picture this

For those who visit Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Living Lakes is asking people to take photos of any flora and fauna using the iNaturalist app.

“When back in cell service, you can then upload your pictures and observations to the project where they will be stored and reviewed by scientists, the iNaturalist community, and Living Lakes Canada employees,” said Shaw.

- For more information on the High Elevation Monitoring Program visit:

livinglakescanada.ca/project/high-elevation-monitoring-program.

- For more information on Living Lakes Canada visit:

https://livinglakescanada.ca/.

Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily