As we approach a summer predicted to be unusually dry, it will be interesting to see how lake water levels fluctuate. Changing water levels can be quite a challenge to the three pairs of nesting loons on our lakes. However, it may be some comfort to know that a management plan exists that allows for some adjustments to the base flow to 108 Lake.
Ducks Unlimited (DU) has an operating plan for monitoring this base flow to 108 Lake which is perhaps less well known than DU projects in other areas of the San Jose River watershed. Operations between Sucker Lake and 108 Lake are part of a DU project to manage the watercourse between Tubbs Lake and 108 Lake and are funded equally by DU, the RCA, the Greenbelt Commission, and The 108 Resort.
April through October the watercourse is inspected periodically and the screwgate adjusted according to need. For most of the year, the screwgate on Sucker Lake is closed and the stop logs in Express Meadow are in place except for a gap to provide a base flow to 108 Lake. The water stored in Express Meadow serves two purposes:
During April, May, and the first part of June the spring runoff is monitored to ensure a base flow. The monitoring also ensures that the water level of Express Meadow is stable and that the watercourse from Express Meadow to 108 Lake is free of obstructions. In early April, if the spillway on Sucker Lake is not flowing, the screwgate will be opened to provide the necessary flow. In late June, if the reservoir of water in Express Meadows is insufficient to provide a base flow to 108 Lake, the screwgate will be opened to increase the flow, but by the first week in August the screwgate is closed and the flow will be provided by the existing water in the system and by any remaining water in Express Meadow. In October, the screwgate is checked again to make sure it is closed for the winter.
The existing water license on 108 Lake mentioned earlier is held by Cariboo Resorts Ltd., for the purpose of watering, and dates back to 1969. The annual allowable draw down on the lake is 400 acre feet (one acre foot is equal to 271,472 imperial gallons). That converts to approximately 108 million imperial gallons or 490,000 cubic metres. (Water license information is available on the web at Land and Water British Columbia Inc.) According to a 1971 survey, the volume of 108 Lake is 7,106 acre feet.
A newspaper advertisement for "weed 'n feed" reminded me that indeed, spring is here; time to head for the golf course, get our hands dirty in the garden, and sharpen the mower blades. Do we also need to feed our lawns and what does that have to do with lakes? Questions worth considering.
Lakes surrounded by residential communities are at risk due to excessive nutrient input from homes and one of the sources of nutrients is improper use of lawn fertilizers. Fertilizers used on neighbourhood lawns can end up in our lakes where they nourish undesirable aquatic plant growth and upset the delicate ecological processes in the lake. Pesticides present in many "weed and feed" products contaminate our ground water and are toxic in the lake environment.
Some residents choose to have a casual looking lawn: grass that is mowed but otherwise left in its natural state. Others prefer a more manicured cultivated look. If you enjoy a well manicured lawn and believe you have limited choices about how that might be achieved, check out the web sites listed below. You'll be surprised to know there is information out there to help us have the lawn we want in the gentlest way possible.
108 Lake - Photo by JN Web Design