Human, plant and animal life, and social development are all inconceivable without the presence of quality water and healthy aquatic ecosystems. Residents, vacationers, tourists, fishers, and boaters all recognize the inherent and unique beauty of Kootenay Lake and the West Arm. As an important habitat to dozens of species of animals and plant life, a source of drinking water for thousands, and a year-round recreation and tourism destination, Kootenay Lake is vital to life, well-being and health.
When ecosystems break down, and water quality deteriorates, the benefits for the population are reduced accordingly. Water has no substitute. Without careful stewardship, Kootenay Lake is vulnerable to negative impacts of human activities, including boating.
Kootenay Lake Sustainable Boating Society (KLSB) is a non-profit citizens group focused on sustainability of boating on Kootenay Lake, including protecting the marine environment in and around Kootenay Lake. The society is currently conducting a feasibility study regarding installing sewage pump-out stations on the lake and the West Arm to help boaters protect the lake environment by preventing the discharge of boat sewage into the lake.
Many other jurisdictions already have mandatory no-discharge protocols in place in recognition of the importance of maintaining the health of their waterways. To date, the only no-discharge location on Kootenay Lake is Pilot Bay.
Increases in tourist visits and activity on the lake, and a trend to more and bigger boats, enhancing the local economy, can also have a direct impact on the environmental health of the lake. Some of these impacts may be controlled, regulated, or directed so that these possibly harmful effects can be avoided; where resource integrity is maintained or even enhanced, all users of the lake will benefit.
With support from Regional District of Central Kootenay, the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association and the Kuskanook Harbour a boaters’ survey has been developed. Boaters are invited to visit klsb.org to complete the survey and add comments or questions.
— KOOTENAY LAKE SUSTAINABLE BOATING SOCIETY