High water in Stump Lake, B.C, about 40 kilometres south of Kamloops, has residents calling on the Thompson Nicola Regional District to remove an old dam at the outlet of the lake in order to allow the water to drain, which would help save their properties.
The district has said it would like to conduct a $50,000 study to ensure doing so wouldn't harm downstream users.
But a retired fisheries biologist and current fishing guide said the water level is the lake's natural high level, which promotes a healthy ecosystem, so it should be left alone.
"Stump Lake functions extremely well at the high water level," Steve Maricle told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.
"At high water, it's one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems in the province. At low water, because of all the concentration of minerals and high pH, it basically turns into an aquatic wasteland insects and fish just cannot survive."
Maricle said the fishing in the lake brings in millions of dollars worth of revenue for the province each year, between guiding, sales of fishing equipment, fuel and more and revenue could be higher if the lake can be kept healthy, which happens when the water is at the level it is now.
"To go in and to lower a natural lake level to me just makes absolutely no sense."
While this may be the case, residents are losing tens of thousands of dollars trying to protect their properties.
"Many houses are unlivable now," resident Michael Kidd said.
Marcle sympathizes with homeowners, but said the problem isn't the high water, it's where the homes were built.
"The big problem is that those houses were constructed at a level that was at or below the very well known high water level of the lake," he said.
"If they have permits on those places, the agencies that allowed them to build there should compensate accordingly."
A letter from residents of Stump Lake to Maricle and fellow biologists, as well as local media and politicians, agrees that residents should be compensated.
"Why wouldn't the biologists in charge of natural resources years ago, when lake levels were considerably lower, not prevent the TNRD from issuing building permits in an area below your determined high water mark of today?" says the letter sent by Les Hobs.
However, the letter is critical of the notion of allowing the lake to remain high; it says that debris, including oil off roads and waste from outhouses and submerged septic systems will continue to seep into the lake, which would not contribute to the healthy ecosystem promoted by Marcie.