Volunteers transport garbage during the October 2020 lake bed clean-up in Nelson. (Submitted by FoKLSS)

Volunteers transport garbage during the October 2020 lake bed clean-up in Nelson. (Submitted by FoKLSS)

Friends of Kootenay Lake receives funding for more lake bed cleanups

Divers will scour the bottom of the lake to collect loads of garbage to be pulled to the surface

The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS) has received a boost in funding to the shoreline restoration program thanks to a generous grant from Unsmoke Canada.

With this funding, FoKLSS can start planning the next phase of their program, which will include more lake bed cleanups.

FoKLSS conducts multiple volunteer-supported shoreline cleanups around Kootenay Lake annually. Over the next calendar year, they will endeavour to increase their activities and clean more communities around the lake. In 2020, FoKLSS conducted their first lake bed cleanup with the help of volunteer divers from the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association and West Kootenay Boating Association, and it was a huge success. FoKLSS aims too continue these lake bed cleanups and other beach clean-ups at public water access points around Kootenay Lake.

In the spring, FoKLSS hosted a socially-distanced cleanup at Kokanee Creek where volunteers filled bags of trash from the shoreline, and even dismantled and removed a large, beached dock in the area. FoKLSS also co-hosted an April cleanup contest along Kootenay Lake’s east shore with the Trails for Creston Valley Society and East Shore Freshwater Habitat Society. Volunteers were challenged to get out and clean popular water access points along the east shore and share photos to win prizes from local Creston businesses. This event was also successful, with 14 different spots getting cleaned.

Now, with this additional funding, FoKLSS is beginning to plan their summer and fall cleanups, which started on July 31 with a lake bed and shoreline cleanup in Nelson at the Prestige Marina. In partnership with the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association and the West Kootenay Boating Association, once again divers scoured the bottom of the lake beneath the marina and collected loads of garbage to be pulled to the surface. FoKLSS is also hosting a cleanup on Thursday, August 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakeside Dog Walk in Nelson. FoKLSS is calling on all members of the public to join in cleaning this popular area. Gloves and bags will be provided to those who attend.

Come fall and the end of the busy tourist season, FoKLSS will be scheduling more beach cleanups, including on the East shore.

If you would like to support these and other efforts on the lake, consider becoming a FoKLSS member or donating to the organization. If you see any beaches or water access points that could use attention, contact FoKLSS Program Manager, Camille LeBlanc, at info@friendsofkootenaylake.ca. She is also available to answer any questions about their other programs.

Remember to pack out what you pack in and continue to work at keeping the shores of Kootenay Lake clean as you visit the lake this summer.

Creston Valley