A new project

A new project

Taking care of Chilliwack’s jewel Cultus Lake

A new $40,000 project looking at nutrient loads in Cultus Lake is geared to reversing its declining health.

A new $40,000 project looking at nutrient loads in Cultus Lake is geared to reversing its declining health.

Funding just announced under Vancity’s 2011 enviroFund awards is “all about caring for the lake,” said Marion Robinson, manager of the Fraser Valley Fraser Basin Council.

The project, Taking Care of Cultus Lake, will help protect threatened lake species, in part by taking a look at the impacts of nutrients on the lake’s ecosystem, and suggesting solutions.

Innovative sewage technologies will be tested, and the group will work with local stakeholders to reduce sewage and other sources of nutrient pollution threatening the lake, said Vancity officials in a press release Friday.

“In this region, we, the Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewards facilitated by FBC, are honoured to be Vancity-funded to assist with engaging community and providing options on how to reduce the nutrient loading in Cultus Lake based on the latest science,” said Robinson. “It is all about Caring For Cultus Lake.

“This helps parallel the work of the Fraser Valley Regional District engineers working on septic upgrades on the north side of the lake.”

Core samples from the lake indicate that 50 years of human impacts are resulting in way too much “nutrient”, which is the nitrogen and phosphorous from toilets, washing machines, fertilizers and other human activities.

Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewards, facilitated by FBC, with partner Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, and Fraser Salmon Watershed Program are also supporting a related two-year scientific research project called Nutrient Mass Balance, also known as the Scoop On Poop. Completion in 2013 will reveal how much nutrient is entering the lake system. In anticipation of the incoming scientific data, the lake stewards have formed a sub-committee to work on nutrient reduction options, said Robinson.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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