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Provincial lake monitoring programs ensure B.C.’s lakes stay healthy

The provincial government is making sure B.C’s lakes stay healthy and ready for tourists.

Mike Sokal is a water quality monitoring limnologist and the provincial lead for the Long-Term Lake Trends Program, which is run by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

He works in partnership with the province through the BC Lake Monitoring Program to better understand and report changes to the water quality of lakes.

The program has been running since 2014 and includes 53 lakes throughout B.C. 

Scientists and volunteers take samples to look at the physical, chemical and biological components of a lake to determine how healthy it is

“Lakes are complex ecosystems that are sensitive to a variety of stressors from human development activities and climate change. If we can understand how things change over time, then we can figure out what the mechanisms are for that change. This is one of the main reasons why we continue to monitor lakes around the province,” explains Sokal.

The sampling is done in the spring and late summer and is also used to study water quality trends and how things are changing over time. 

Some lakes have been monitored by stewardship groups and a variety of other organizations for decades, providing an abundance of data for scientists to analyze.

This month is is Lake Appreciation Month, and Sokal thanks the many volunteers who spend hours assisting the province’s lake monitoring programs. Without their help, Sokal believes some of the smaller lakes wouldn’t get sampled.

For more information on the BC Lake Monitoring Program, or find out how you can get involved, visit the Government of British Columbia’s website.

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