Christina Lake stewards continue their work after AGM
Celebrated advancements and achievements from 2009 and plans for 2010, the annual general meeting of the Christina Lake Stewardship Society was held on Thursday, Mar. 11. For the 35 society members, the meeting highlighted their many projects and partnerships that make the society a leader in the province for stewardship. The evening also included a review of their financial position and the election of their 12 member board of directors.
The Stewardship Society has been working towards the protection of Christina Lake and its tributaries since 2001. Their programs run the gamut from education, to restoration and enhancement projects, monitoring of environmentally sensitive activities, to acting as liaison with other organizations, government agencies, and companies. They receive excellent support from community members, local businesses, and government for the work they do. In terms of economic development, the Society has created 12 part-time positions over the year, including the Stewardship Coordinator Brenda LaCroix, and supported local contractors as well.
Some successful programs done in 2009 include: milfoil program in conjunction with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB); education poster created about aquatic plants; offering youth programs and events; providing free dye kits for septic inspection tests to determine if fields are leaching into the lake; water quality testing in the spring and fall; and working with the RDKB to develop a riparian area protection policy.
Challenges for the group along with monitoring and dealing with drought problems impacting streams and fish mortality, will be the continued funding of the core activities of the resource centre as gaming grants for environmental groups have been suspended. Their current funding from B.C. Gaming in intact as it was a three-year commitment, but beyond next year LaCroix says they are unsure if there will be future funding. The contract for the past three years has provided $25,000 for core operations.
“We’re considered an environmental group. It’s going to have a major effect on us. We have to get the word out there – they really need to know how much these people do in lieu of government people being here to represent the watershed or the Kettle,” said LaCroix. “With us here we get them (government staff) here more often, and we also do the work, get the grants. We’re very concerned. We’ve worked hard to get the gaming grant to the level it is right now. Core funding is really hard to come by.”
The Society is continuing to try to grow their endowment fund that, once it is large enough, could allow them to be independent of grant funding, at least for the core activities of the Society. LaCroix encourages everyone to help grow the fund that is currently sitting at $3978.50, short of the minimum to invest at $5,000.
“We still haven’t met our target to roll over to a proper endowment,” said LaCroix. “We need to hit $5,000 and we need to have a lot more than that because if we get the interest it will be put on project specific activities at the lake every year. So we need to boost that.”
Projects for the future focus on removing abandoned docks and educating homeowners about dock disposal, continued focus on the milfoil issue and bringing the province to the table to help with funding, building a new information kiosk at the boat launch area in the spring, purchasing hydrometric data collection gauges that monitor water levels and impacts of drought and climate change, and the north end buoy project. Many of the projects are pending confirmation of funding including the hydrometric gauges.
“Tara White did a presentation for us in December of the Kettle River. She updated us on stream flow patterns, and water capacity,” said LaCroix. “We’ll know at the end of the month – she’s put in for a three-year project from the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund so we can place 10 guages to do stream flow monitoring. This will give better information about potential other water storage, besides Big White, and licencing and restrictions.”
The new board of directors is: Peter Bowen, Dan Wolkosky, Mary Slasor, Pat Palmer, Marion Beattie, Dave Caswell, Barb Stewart, Roland Krueger, Paul Idle, Doug Shannon, Susan Harrison, and Dan Romaine.