Lake Stewardship

Cover photo – Coho fry – photo by Eiko Jones

QISES director Paul Puddy rowing near the Village Bay Creek fish fence site, on a temperature and oxygen data collection site

QISES director Paul Puddy steers the boat near the Village Bay Lake fish fence

Quadra has some incredible lake ecosystems for such a small island, particularly the Village Bay Lakes, which is home to Coho, Chum, Kokanee, and historically, Sockeye salmon.  It is also home to cutthroat, including some sea-run trout. The Village Bay Lakes watershed is by far the largest on Quadra, and is of great ecological significance to the island.  It is a huge amount of water for such a small island, but like all watersheds in BC, it has been challenged by drought conditions in the summer.

– Village Bay Lakes data monitoring
– Village Bay Creek fish fence & video system
– Coho fry observation
– Lakekeepers course

Village Bay Lakes data monitoring

 

Village Bay creek fish fence & video system

Salmon are notoriously difficult to count, particularly Coho, which prefer to move at night.  Coho spawn in many of the tributaries entering Village Bay Lakes.  DFO has had many variations of fish fences for the purpose of obtaining an accurate count.  QISES members Larry Hafemeister & Lauren Miller began to look into alternate systems for counting the salmon without restricting their upstream migration.  The location has some challenges – water access only with no power connection, no cell service, and not much sun.  QISES member Doug Biro contributed his technological brilliance to an off-grid, generator powered system.  Doug Richardson led the significant project of building a power/camera shed and access dock.

Coho fry observation

Many adult coho enter the Village Bay Lake system via Village Bay Creek, but where do they go?  Coho spawn in several tributary creeks.  At this point QISES members do not conduct weekly stream walks during spawning season – please get in touch if you are interested in doing so!  We would like to with more volunteers.  We do however sometimes schedule delightful spring boat trips to observe fry.

Village Bay Lakes Data monitoring

QISES has been monitoring temperature and dissolved oxygen for several years now, and at times cooperating with other research or data-gathering projects.  Please contact us if you would like to volunteer with data gathering on the Lakes and/or collaborate on a research project.

Lakekeeper courses

In May of 2012 many observers noticed unusual amounts of algae blooms in Village Bay Lakes.  VBL resident and QISES director Lauren Miller contacted other long-term lake residents, BC Parks, watershed monitoring organizations, and Cortes watershed scientists and stewards (as Cortes Island was also experiencing significant algae blooms in Hague and Gunflint Lakes).  QISES partnered with Friends of Cortes Island to host a Lakekeepers course.  The course was ultimately hosted on Cortes, where a large contingent of lakeside residents formed an enthusiastic group.  QISES is hoping to host another Lakekeepers course in 2024 or 2025 – please contact us if you are interested in volunteering and/or attending!

photo:  QISES director Lauren Miller collecting temperature and dissolved oxygen data on a rainy day on Main Lake, northern section of Village Bay Lakes, September 2023.  Photo by Paul Puddy