What we do
Founded in 1991 by community members to help promote public awareness of the lake, OLWQS is vigilant in monitoring issues such as conservation, pollution and lake management and protection.
It is a nonpolitical, non-profit charitable organization run entirely by local volunteers.
Some of our activities past and current include:
- Publish regular news articles in the local media as part of our education program.
Each spring, we conduct shoreline cleanup in Osoyoos with primary school age children as part of our ongoing educational programs.
We have an ongoing program to paint yellow fish adjacent to storm drains in the town of Osoyoos to remind residents and visitors not to pour/dump toxic substances into the drains which eventually end up polluting Osoyoos Lake.
In the summer of 2018, the OLWQS in concert with OASISS (Osoyoos and Similkameen Invasive Species Society) began testing for Zebra and Quagga mussel larvae as part of its summer water testing program on Osoyoos Lake.
Created a new portable display booth for trade shows, festivals and other public meetings
- Monitor the Lake for infractions such as the building of concrete walls or removal of vegetation along the shoreline, and report to the specific Ministry involved.
- In 1994, the BC Ministry of Environment asked us to take over their monitoring of Lake Osoyoos, due to provincial funding cutbacks. This has been carried out ever since by the OLWQS on a weekly basis between July and September. We test for water turbidity (clarity), dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, and specific conductivity. The results are forwarded to the Ministry of Environment each year. This data first began to be collected in 1972 and is available to the public on request. We were the second community society to undertake lake monitoring in the Province and are well known.
- In 1995, OLWQS hosted “water crisis in the Okanagan Valley” seminar which attracted a great deal of public interest.
- Since 1997, we have had local groups (Air Cadets, etc.) come out and paint yellow fish by the storm drains that empty directly into the Lake. We also tried a program with plastic discs but some of these were either damaged by Town sidewalk sweepers, or stolen, so we have gone back to painting the yellow fish. We have brochures on this effort which we hand out to those interested and get local news paper coverage.
- In 2003, we purchased our own 22-ft pontoon boat with a grant from the Gaming Commission plus several local sources. We use the boat to do our weekly monitoring during the summer months.
- In 2003/4 with help from Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we had the two schools in Osoyoos care for 800 salmon eggs. They monitored the hatching of these eggs in specially-constructed tanks, and six months later the classes came out on a field trip to the Okanagan River where the young salmon ‘fry’ were released into the waters. The students studied fish food in the River, had use of microscopes, and the process was covered by local media.
- Compiled reports on Eurasian Milfoil in Osoyoos Lake and its affect on Lake Odoyoos
Collaboration - Some of the groups we have extablished close working relationships include:
- Okanagan Basin Water Board
- South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program
- North American Lake Management Society
- Washington Lake Protection Society
- State of Washington Watershed Management Plan
- Washington Lake Protection Society
- BC Lake Stewardship Society (founding members)
- Ducks Unlimited
- Osoyoos Indian Band
- Osoyoos Desert Society
- Okanagan Planning Unit (representing B.C.)
- GAOB (Groundwater Assessment in the Okanagan Basin)
- Regional Growth Strategy Committee