Austin, a dog belonging to Dr. Lyn Pascoe, died in 2016 after ingesting blue-green algae from Quamichan Lake. (File photo)

No easy solutions for Quamichan Lake’s deadly algae, report states

More research and funding required

Dealing with the excessive nutrient levels in Quamichan Lake will take many years of dedicated effort, according to scientists studying the problem.

Dr. David Preikshot, a research biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada who is working as a consultant with the Quamichan Lake Water Quality Task Force, recently provided water-test results that indicate the nutrient levels in the lake “were orders of magnitude higher than a healthy lake”.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN FORMS TASK FORCE

In a report to council, David Conway, the Municipality of North Cowichan’s director of engineering, concluded that management of the issue will take years to understand and to formulate strategies to deal with it.

He reminded council that the health of lakes like Quamichan Lake is mostly a provincial responsibility, not local governments.

Conway said that any mitigation strategies carried out by North Cowichan would require a considerable expenditure of municipal funds.

“Burnaby, for example, spent $20 million over 10 years in Burnaby Lake and has not resolved its algae issues,” he said

Conway said, at this point, staff are working with a budget of $25,000 that has been committed, and $50,000 in 2018, to consider point sources of pollution to the lake.

He said the developers of the nearby Kingsview development have also committed to contributing to a fund on the basis of up to $500 for each lot created for local water-quality initiatives.

But with the province ultimately responsible for the health of lakes in B.C., Conway said the view of staff is that the role of the municipality is to simply advocate for assurances that Quamichan Lake is safe for its intended uses.

“Island Health has the expertise and presumably resources to properly assess lake health and any necessary actions associated with lake use,” he said

Conway said that Island Health, for example, has confirmed that the lake should remain “signed” in the way it is, including the advisory at Art Mann Park recommending against swimming or wading.

“Island Health has stated that as long as the water is not ingested, there’s a very low risk of health to humans,” he said.

“They also recommend rinsing off if coming in contact with the water.”

There had been at least four reported dog deaths around Quamichan Lake in 2016, and all are suspected to be caused by ingesting toxic blue-green algae from the lake.

RELATED STORY: DOG DIES AFTER INGESTING ALGAE

North Cowichan decided at the time to set up the task force, consisting of staff and council members, along with water specialists, to study and seek solutions to the ongoing health issues related to the algae.

As expected, the task force concluded the nutrients that are causing the algae outbreak in the lake are coming from a number of sources, including urban runoff, and runoff from nearby agricultural lands, construction areas and logging sites.

Conway said staff expect to bring another report to council on the ongoing research by the task force and others on the algae problem in Quamichan Lake in the spring of 2019.

“The report will summarize the findings and suggest a capital and ongoing budget should council pursue a clean up,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lexi Bainas column: Beverley at Black Swan, Chamber Orchestra at Honeymoon Bay, Johnstone in Germany: everyone is on the go

Volunteers needed for Xmas prep at Forest Discovery, and Lake Cow. Seniors have a talent show

Lake Flashback: Honouring Barry and Lou, Lawrence hits the road, Ken squeaks by Ted

Politics was rough back then, too, but so was the urge to preserve the Lake’s history

Santa Claus is coming to Lake Cowichan!

The Cowichan Lake Chamber’s Santa Parade and Light Up is coming to… Continue reading

Chargers win Island volleyball gold

Host DCS cruises through tourney to earn provincial berth

UPDATE with VIDEO: Daughter calls for animal safety measures after fatal accident on Cowichan’s Hwy. 18

“Safety studies and improvements to Highway 18 are vitally important”

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Most Read