Love Your Lake
The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) has, for over 30 years, worked in the southern interior of British Columbia to protect and preserve habitat for all living things. Natural lake shorelines, with their ribbon of native plants benefit wildlife and animal movement; protect properties from flood and erosion; and support ecological processes essential to clean, drinkable, swimmable, fishable water. Purchasing lakeshore for conservation is prohibitively expensive, so SILT is exploring other ways to spark widespread voluntary care of lakeshores to benefit all living things, including people.
SILT has partnered with Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation to pilot the highly successful Love Your Lake (LYL) program for the first time in British Columbia, at Vaseux Lake and along the shore of Okanagan Lake in the District of Summerland. The LYL project will provide lakeshore landowners with a free, personalized and private evaluation of their shoreline, with specific actions for how to voluntarily protect and re-vitalize the shoreline to improve lake health while still maintaining their waterfront view.
Shoreline property owners will receive information about the program including an introductory letter and a values survey. Shorelines will be assessed by boat on a property-by-property basis by trained people using a standardized protocol and datasheet. Following the assessments, each shoreline property owner will receive another letter, typically in the spring, with a personal online access code needed to download their free report. The report will contain information about the state of their unique shoreline and suggestions of voluntary actions they can take, specifically tailored to their shoreline, to improve the health of their shoreline. Lake organizations and project partners will receive a lake summary report which generalizes the data over the entire assessed area and identifies community stewardship opportunities applicable to the entire lake shoreline.
I believe this is a great project to help home owners on Skaha Lake look at ways they can contribute to the lake’s health. I appreciate that the funder(s) have seen the value of this project and supported it, particularly given the number of residences on the shores of Skaha Lake. I look forward to receiving the report on our property along with any recommendations and working with our neighbours to improve and enhance the lakeshore. We have tried to do things already such as encouraging reed growth and building a dock with a flow thru surface to let light through the surface to the water. Any additional suggestions regarding the foreshore, plants, etc. will be helpful. It was also great to receive information about the study in advance and to have the opportunity to talk with the individuals while they were in their boat taking pictures.
- R.C., Kaleden
All information contained in the individual shoreline property reports and lake summary reports is non-regulatory. All organizations involved in the LYL program take privacy issues very seriously.
This year, SILT will also be supporting the creation of up to three public shoreline restoration demonstration sites in various areas where landowners and others can see how lakeshore restoration works. SILT and the LYL program hope that both aspects of the project will continue in future years on other lakes. Funding and in-kind support for the LYL project has been provided by the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, the LYL Program, SILT, local government and other contributors.
(click heading to download pdf report)
Useful Resources & Links for Shoreline Property Owners
Provincial Shoreline Management Information:
Dock Rules and Applications: General Permissions Available or contact Front Counter BC 1-877-855-3222
Shoreline Development: Requirements under Riparian Areas Regulation
Septic Systems: Installing, managing and maintaining them
Retaining walls and erosion control structures: Regulations under Water Sustainability Act and Approval for Work in and about a Stream.
Province of BC, Best Management Practices
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen 101 Martin Street, Penticton, BC Canada V2A 5J9 – Toll Free in BC and Alberta: 1-877-610-3737 Phone: 250-492-0237
District of SummerlandDistrict of Summerland Location: 13211 Henry Avenue, Summerland BC Canada; Mailing Address: Box 159, Summerland BC V0H 1Z0 Phone: 250-494-6451
Organizations to help with Water issues, Shoreline Stewardship and Conservation:
Vaseux Lake Stewardship Association
Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society
Vaseux Migratory Bird Sanctuary: Information about the sanctuary, and restrictions related to public use of the area.
South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program resources for landowners https://soscp.org/caring-for-your-space/
Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society: ideas about how to add value for wildlife to your property.
Southern Interior Land Trust
Okanagan Basin Water Board
Other Useful Websites:
Climate Change: Climate Change Guide for Landowners
Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Shoreline Management: Lakeshore Living in the Okanagan
Living with Wildlife in BC: Resource materials to address conflicts with wildlife
Native Plant List: Okanagan Xeriscape Association