Milfoil harvesting in Okanagan lakes has been a success - but more required

Milfoil program working

Winter milfoil de-rooting continues on Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes, but low water levels in Osoyoos Lake mean the Okanagan Basin Water Board has been unable to launch its machines.

In an update to board directors, operations manager James Littley says once the water levels are sufficient, two rototillers will be used to cover the area more quickly before the end of the season.

"Using two machines in one lake will also allow us to create travel and refuelling efficiencies, as well as adding to operator safety by having another operator available to respond quickly to any calls for assistance," says Littley.

Meanwhile, the water board continues to work with the province and environmental consultants to expand existing milfoil treatment areas.

"Because the OBWB milfoil program has been so successful over the past five decades, significant areas with milfoil infestations are now clear of the invasive plant," says Littley.

"However, even these cleared areas need ongoing maintenance when our operators detect new milfoil growth. When we apply for new permits, we are required to delineate the areas where we will be treating. One of the issues we are currently working through is applying for permits in areas that currently appear milfoil-free, but still require permits for this ongoing maintenance."

Among those is Brown’s Point in Kelowna.

That part of Okanagan Lake now has far less milfoil. A few sparse patches are still visible, but without ongoing treatment, it is likely that milfoil would densify again within a few years.

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