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Okanagan Eco-Noggin  

The turtles are happy

The painted turtles in the Mission Creek Regional Park turtle pond can rest easy.

If you’ve been following the news on the turtle pond, you may recall that local residents expressed concern over falling water levels and hot, cloudy water in the ponds.

When the water supply for the Hall Road area was switched from the Southeast Kelowna Irrigation District to the City of Kelowna, there was no longer a non-chlorinated source of water to sustain the series of ponds, resulting in loss of habitat for the turtles.

Fortunately, the RDCO was able to tap an existing groundwater license to extract water from the aquifer, restoring flow to the fountain that feeds the fishing pond and the series of downstream ponds. 

When I visited the ponds recently, the fountain was running, water levels were back to normal, the water was clear, and the turtles appeared to be content. 

The final step will be to transition the well from a generator to the grid, which should be complete in the next few weeks.

The RDCO contracted Ecoscape Environmental Consultants to help protect the pond and turtles.

Jason Schleppe, a principal at Ecoscape, pointed out that restoring the pond protected many more species than the highly visible turtles.

For example, amphibious species would also have benefitted from the restoration of water levels.

A major benefit of these ponds is their proximity to the Mission Creek Greenway, which is a relatively undisturbed island of riparian habitat within our urban landscape.

He also mentioned that Kelowna has several other kettle lakes and ponds that provide important habitat for turtles and other species. Kettle lakes were formed by remnants of glaciers that were left on or under the landscape after the retreat of the massive ice sheets that formed our valleys.

For example, Munson Pond, near KLO road, and Carney Pond, near the airport, are currently being enhanced for habitat and aesthetics.

The Hall Road children’s fishing pond, middle pond and turtle pond make for a nice short hike with great scenery and plenty of shade.

If you haven’t seen them, go check them out some time. They can be accessed from Hall Road or from the many trails within Mission Creek park off Springfield Road.

The turtles provide a nice dose of serenity, something we can all use more of this year.

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About the Author

Jerry Vandenberg is an environmental scientist and owner of Vandenberg Water Science. He lives in the Okanagan region where he is also a paid-on-call fire fighter.

He can be reached at (250) 491-7260; [email protected]; https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerry-vandenberg/

Website: www.vws.ltd

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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