Beachcombing for a healthier lake environment

Removing lots garbage from the shores of Lake Windermere

Twenty four people put on gloves and combed the shores of Lake Windermere during the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup on September 19, 2009. Wildsight’s Lake Windermere Project (LWP) organized the event.

In all, volunteers collected 669 pounds of garbage from the sensitive shorelines of several local beaches. They also cleaned up along the mouths of two creeks that drain into the lake.

“Cigarette butts are always plentiful,” said Heather Leschied of the LWP. “They’re toxic to wildlife and take years to break down. This year, we removed 1,121 of them.”
Volunteers also removed plastic bags, clothing, bottles, food wrappers—and even a snowmobile frame, a patio umbrella and a car tire.

“Thanks to our hands-on helpers, these areas are safer for people and the garbage won’t end polluting in the lake. Kokanee salmon spawn in the lake’s tributaries in the fall and the eggs hatch in the spring—so it’s important that garbage and debris are cleared away each year,” she said.

Leschied offered a huge thanks to the District of Invermere, the Regional District of East Kootenay, Sobey’s and the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup for supporting the event.
The LWP has plenty of information to share about shoreline health, including handy tips for shoreline property owners who want to tread lightly on this rich ecosystem.

“Shorelines are where water and land ecosystems meet,” Leschied said. “They’re a source of life for wildlife of all kinds, including fish and birds. Every person who takes the time to learn about shorelines and to care for them is helping an amazing natural environment to thrive.”