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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Island Health is expected to begin public consultations soon on its controversial plans to open a new wellness and recovery centre at 5878 York Road. (File photo)
Public consultations on Duncan wellness and recovery centre coming in February

Controversial facility on York Road scheduled to open in June

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Providence Health Care has teamed up with partners, including Island Health, to launch the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia. Duncan’s Alan Holt was one of the first to test it out. (Submitted)
Remote cochlear clinic offers shorter commute for patients like Duncan’s Alan Holt

Duncan man one of the first to test virtual mapping program

Larry Fiege, right, from Fiege’s Farm shows a rapt audience the old-fashioned way to tap a Bigleaf Maple during the Maple Syrup Festival at the BC Forest Discovery Centre Feb. 1 and 2, 2020. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Maple Syrup Festival in Duncan cancelled

The annual syrup festival is a popular event at the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read