Central Okanagan Lake Foreshore Inventory Mapping project

Posted February 2006

In the summer of 2004, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, Real Estate Foundation, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, conducted a detailed inventory of the foreshore of central Okanagan Lake. The aim of the Central Okanagan Lake Foreshore Inventory Mapping project was to categorize the foreshore according to near shore and upslope characteristics such as foreshore morphology, land use, existing riparian condition, and anthropogenic alterations. The project used Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and detailed digital shoreline video to capture foreshore characteristics.

The results show that integrity of the foreshore has been compromised by residential and urban development, as well as agriculture, parks, industrial, and commercial uses. More than half of the foreshore area has been disturbed through anthropogenic alterations, including lake infilling, beach grooming, shoreline armouring, riparian vegetation removal, and shoreline development. This has led to widespread degradation and fragmentation of foreshore habitats that are relied upon by a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species. Despite these foreshore impacts, almost half of the foreshore within the study area remains undisturbed, which presents challenge and opportunity in the management of foreshore habitats.

Kokanee shore-spawning activities on Central Okanagan Lake are commonly associated with cliff/bluff and low rocky shore types that have either boulder or bedrock-dominated substrates. Areas that are not as highly used for spawning include gravel beaches and vegetated shorelines, although limited spawning does occur in these areas. Most of the recorded spawning locations
were associated with areas characterized as low or moderate disturbance level. 

The information collected will be provided to local and senior government agencies to assist in the management of the foreshore (including adjacent upland) ecosystems. It will aid in developing regulations, standards, policies, education materials, and other management tools and will promote strong community stewardship and awareness. It will also serve as a benchmark for agencies by documenting land use and riparian habitat changes, providing evidence for regulatory investigations, and assessing objectives set out in foreshore protection initiatives. Recommended actions include: developing a foreshore protection plan, identifying and protecting critical areas, prioritizing activities, addressing modifications and monitoring.

The report is presented in three parts. Part I summarizes the state of the foreshore of Central Okanagan Lake including results, discussion, and recommendations. Part II presents an analysis of the foreshore data in conjunction with existing kokanee shore-spawning data. Part III includes the technical methodology, technical recommendations, and detailed descriptions of the foreshore segments.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here