The Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) has released a short report entitled “Understanding Nutrients and Water Quality in the Shuswap River and Salmon River” that is available on the SWC website
As the title indicates, the results of three years of research have shown that the sources of excess phosphorus (P) are along the Shuswap River between Mara and Mable Lakes and along the Salmon River valley upstream of Shuswap Lake. The greatest nutrient loading is being contributed from small valley bottom tributaries that are impacted by housing, farming and commercial developments.
There is some additional research being conducted on Mara Lake to establish an historical baseline levels for the nutrients.
What’s next – obviously get on with mitigative efforts to reduce the nutrient loadings. The report indicates that development of wetlands, enhancement of riparian areas, new irrigation practices, different livestock practices and improved manure management are techniques that can be used. Results from implementation of these techniques will take many years (20 or more) to show significant results.
The SWC has place advertisements in local papers indicating that they have funds to start some projects. SWOA disagrees with this approach as the use of this money for mitigative work goes beyond the SWC mandate and is the “thin edge of the wedge” for the downloading of the cost of this work from Provincial agencies to local taxpayers. The Province has the legislative authority to write and enforce good practices. SWC funded through local tax dollars has no authority and the mitigation they are able to fund may have no effect. SWOA has voiced our opinion and we encourage you to let your representatives know your opinion.