The Peace River Regional District is moving ahead with a plan to clear the weeds from local lakes.
Board directors voted Thursday in favour of a recommendation from the rural budgets committee to hire a biologist to develop plans to manage and harvest aquatic vegetation in Charlie Lake, Swan Lake, and One Island Lake.
Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead said he’s very appreciative of the initiative, but wants to see consultation with the Charlie Lake Conservation Society and the Swan Lake Enhancement Society, as they can offer first-hand knowledge of the lakes.
“I know they’d be very encouraged to engage with the biologists and the ministry to help provide that local knowledge as well, and help them understand the lakes and the transitions they’re going through,” he said.
The idea comes from a similar project in Williams Lake, where a lake weed harvester and provincial license was acquired to improve safety for two boat launches, a beach, and a designated float plane area. PRRD staff met with the municipality in early October to discuss their process.
"Williams Lake is very similar to the lakes within the PRRD whereas there is no presence of invasive aquatic species," reads an Oct. 28 report from PRRD environmental services manager Kari Bondaroff.
“They purchased the harvester prior to obtaining their license and are planning to conduct their first harvest by the end of October, or prior to the lake freezing. Their authorization is very dependent on the results of each harvest, and they are working very closely with the Province to monitor their progress.”
The rural budgets committee has so far committed $100,000 to the initiative, to be split equally from provincial Fair Share monies from electoral areas C and D, if approved.
The PRRD estimates it would take approximately one and a half years to obtain the appropriate documentation and permits to be able to remove the vegetation, with public consultation needed to determine support for the project.
“The parameters in which the harvesting occurs will be dependent on the recommended aquatic and non-aquatic habitats identified and applicable management to reduce impacts to biodiversity,” Bondaroff noted in the report.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org