Okanagan Lake Collaborative Monitoring

Okanagan Basin MapThe British Columbia Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV) in partnership with the City of Kelowna, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and the District of Summerland began a seasonal sampling program on Okanagan Lake in 2011 to increase the temporal resolution of water quality data being gathered. This program was performed collaboratively between ENV staff, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA; 2011), and Larratt Aquatic Consulting (2012-2018).

This collaborative monitoring on Okanagan Lake combines resources from local government and the province, to provide high quality, integrated, and timely water quality information to guide planning and management of Okanagan Lake into the future. The monitoring serves multiple functions, including:

  • assessing attainment of Okanagan Lake water quality objectives;
  • enabling seasonal long-term trend analyses of physical, chemical, and biological data in Okanagan Lake; and
  • fulfilling lake monitoring requirements for municipal wastewater discharges and informing liquid waste management planning.

Sampling of four key sites in Okanagan Lake is carried out on 7 dates , 5 through a contract (April-August), and 2 as part of ongoing ENV Long-term Lake Trends sampling (March & September).

Sampling focuses on three broad subjects at each site: physical parameters, water chemistry, and biological activity.

Physical parameters including temperature profiles, and water clarity (as Secchi depth) are collected at each site.

Water Chemistry sampling includes dissolved oxygen profiles, along with nutrients collected from water in the epilimnion (1-5-10 m composite) and the hypolimnion (20-32-45 m composite). Biological sampling included generic parameters such as chlorophyll-a concentrations and biomass, as well as detailed taxonomic classification of phytoplankton and zooplankton.

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