Christina Lake Milfoil Program

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When Eurasian Watermilfoil (milfoil) starts to grow near the shoreline of a river or lake (littoral zone), it can become so dense and dominant that swimming, boating and angling become downright difficult.

Click on this storymap to learn more about the Christina Lake Milfoil Program.

Be sure to ask a question or leave a comment we can share with others on this site! We are keen to share information about this plant and our program.


When Eurasian Watermilfoil (milfoil) starts to grow near the shoreline of a river or lake (littoral zone), it can become so dense and dominant that swimming, boating and angling become downright difficult.

Click on this storymap to learn more about the Christina Lake Milfoil Program.

Be sure to ask a question or leave a comment we can share with others on this site! We are keen to share information about this plant and our program.


If you have any questions or comments about the Christina Lake Milfoil Program, please post them here and we will respond and publish them as soon as possible.

Thank you!

RDKB Engagement Team

Q&A

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    Are older cabins along lakeshores, bays etc mandated to upgrade their Septic systems after a period of time? Is there testing done to mitigate septic Leakage into lake? Is there any correlation of milfoil growth to volume of motorboat activity on Christina Lake! We are very concerned about what environmental plans are in place to help protect health of lake long term. Other lakes have put restrictions on motor useage ( gas vs electric) where ecology of fish, nesting bird habitats are affected. Thanks for reading this & considering long term concerns we have.

    Laura Gray Asked 4 months ago

    Hey Laura, thanks for the questions!

    Are older cabins along lakeshores, bays etc mandated to upgrade their Septic systems after a period of time?

    The Regional District’s Board of Directors established the Waterfront Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit Area in 1995. A development permit is required if the existing or proposed sewage disposal system is within 100 metres of the lake or tributary and the land owner is doing any of the following:

    • constructing a new building containing a dwelling unit or sleeping quarters,
    • converting a non-residential building into a dwelling unit or sleeping quarters,
    • building an addition to a dwelling unit or sleeping quarter if the habitable floor area of the addition exceeds 20 m2.


    The development permit application must include a report from a qualified professional that states that the existing or proposed sewage disposal system exceeds standards set by the Province and therefore will not have a negative impact on the receiving water body.

    The benefits of the development permit requirements are:

    • that it encourages placement of septic fields greater than 100m from the lake or tributary where possible,
    • requires that Provincial standards are exceeded,
    • and requires suitability analysis where it may not be required otherwise.


    Approximately 150 Waterfront Environmentally Sensitive Development Permits have been issued since 1995. The Development Permit must be obtained before a building permit can be issued. For more information please contact Planning and Development Department staff at plandept@rdkb.com.

    Is there testing done to mitigate septic Leakage into lake?

    The RDKB has completed a Source Protection Plan for the Christina Lake Water Utility which services residents at the south end of the lake and uses water from the lake itself. The Christina Lake Water Utility is testing drinking water under the Drinking Water Protection Act. The results of testing for the Christina Lake Water Utility are available on the Interior Health website and also in the RDKB's annual reports. The RDKB only tests the drinking water for the Christina Lake Water Utility at the south end of the lake.

    The Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) has also done some testing at various points around the lake. The CLSS might have dye kits available to waterfront property owners who would like to test whether their indoor plumbing is leaking into the lake. Please check with the CLSS regarding their test results. The Ministry of Environment also does regular testing of the water quality at the lake.

    Is there any correlation of milfoil growth to volume of motorboat activity on Christina Lake?

    RDKB's Milfoil Program has been monitoring milfoil plants removed at many locations around the lake. While the RDKB does not have information on the amount of motorboat traffic on Christina Lake, the milfoil removal program has had a positive effect (less milfoil growth) on the lake.

    We are very concerned about what environmental plans are in place to help protect health of lake long term. Other lakes have put restrictions on motor useage ( gas vs electric) where ecology of fish, nesting bird habitats are affected. Thanks for reading this & considering long term concerns we have.

    The Planning and Development Department is working on an update to it’s Official Community Plan (OCP), which will uphold current objectives and policies around protection of water quality and also explore further objectives and policies to strengthen the protection of water quality. For more information about the OCP review process please contact plandept@rdkb.com.

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    The Milfoil removal program while expensive has proven to be the only management plan that has had positive results at Christina Lake. Two attempts by Ministry of Parks In the 1980-90's showed that exclusive management without community consultation was not a good management plan. the first attempt was to drive dump trucks out on the ice in the winter and dump loads of sandy soil hoping to smother the weeds. That led to an increase in weed growth of all species. The second attempt was to contract with a lake weed harvesting machine from Okanagon Lake, which basically was a wheat harvester on a powered barge that cut the weeds and collected the debris. This proves to be a Milfoil reseeding outcome as all the Milfoil pieces were impossible to capture. Lake are complicated eco systems that are sensitive to human intervention as well as natural interventions. Not controlling Milfoil weed will result in dense mats of it on the surface of the lake making fishing, boating and swimming impossible. I grew up in the state of New Jersey where the largest freshwater, Lake Hopatcong went through a halter skelter weed management plan in the 1950's that was more the spraying of herbicides by property owners to rid the lake of weeds and algae. In 1959 as a young lad I remember how we could not use boats as the propellors would clog with weeds and in that year an attempt to lower the water level drastically as swimming resulted in rashes and blistering. Lake Hopatcong is similar in size to Christina Lake in that its maximum length is 14 km or 9 miles so shorter than our lake. The lake itself cover 10km sq. To this day Algae blooms, weed issues and swimming bans have been a constant problem on Lake Hopatcong Christina Lake has also seen intervention from Ministry of Highways in altering the natural course of Sutherland Creek to run where it is now situated. As well the Sandners Mill used the property the Welcome Center is on as a sawdust dump and greatly changed the natural shoreline and ability of that property to cleans the lake and offer small fish habitat. Successful management of Christina Lake has shown that individual entities even with the best of intentions making exclusive decisions is not the best strategy to insure a healthy lake. A successful management plan should include all shareholders who are involved all levels of discussion on development and management of the lake. To some extent locally this has been somewhat implemented. Yet the entire cost of the Milfoil Removal Program has fallen upon all the tax payers in Area C. The lake has many users that do not live in Area C, as well as a struggling tourist industry that never really recovered from the Kingsley Road Hotel and campground being turned into private residences. In fact the amount of public access to the lake has decreased each decade since the sale of that property. alarmingly this provincial and federal regulated lake is not being given any financial support from those two senior levels of government, nor do we see any help from the Columbia Basin Trust even though the water flow of Christina Lake and the Kettle River drainage generate income for the CBT. Many of the users of the lake come from the RDKB or over the hill as we Laker's say yet we are footing 100% of the Milfoil Removal Program. Today many former summer cottages are now year round residences, many of those are still utilizing older septic systems. the more conjuration of human habitation on the lake itself could eventually lead to a oxygen depletion problem causing a danger to the fishery. We have seen this most summers on the Kettel River already. As well toxic blooms can harm both animals and people and then there is water usage issues for those taking their water from the lake. I remember Dr. Stefanelli speaking at public meetings concerning swimmer itch or skin rash as well as blistering and abdominal pain occurring at the south end of Christina Lake. Not many paid him any heed then. as a park ranger at the lake for 14 years I never let my kids swim at the south end public beach. I am all for supporting the Milfoil Removal Program and I am also all for senior government paying a fair share to match their regultory powers.

    2dthome Asked 4 months ago

    Thanks 2dthome for the comprehensive information about your other experiences with milfoil and for taking the time to comment. We recognize that the service is provided to and fully paid for by the taxpayers within Electoral Area C/Christina Lake. Maintaining lake health benefits not just local residents and tourists but is also integral to overall community and environmental sustainability. The RDKB has made historical requests to more senior levels of government to contribute funding towards the effective, but expensive, use of divers in the management of milfoil. Although not successful to date, these efforts will continue. Your comments are thoughtful and appreciated. Thank you.

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    Hi, thank you for this informative site. I have heard that people in the south end of the lake have a co-operative of sort. They have a water type lawn mower that they "mow" the weeds to make their waterfront more accessible to swimming. Does this propagate the plant and exacerbate the problem? Are their any aquatic species that can safely be introduced to eat the plant, like goats have been used on land to eat noxious weeds?

    hollydolly Asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    If the “water type lawn mower” you are referring to is an "Aqua Thruster" type of device, this would require Notification of Instream Work and approval under the Water Sustainability Act before using because this type of device is affecting the lake bottom. These types of devices basically circulate water and debris away from its mounting site (like a dock) and can dig into the lake bottom by as much as 2 to 3 ft.

    These devices are also harmful to the overall native lake species health. This type of device does not discriminate between native and invasive species nor will it allow for spawning fish nests that are abundant around the southern portion of Christina Lake. Milfoil spreads through fragmentation. This means that a small piece of plant landing somewhere has the capability of growing at that spot. The "Aqua Thruster" propagates fragments of the Milfoil plant and could increase the spread of Milfoil over a larger area.

    The RDKB is aware of the local species, Milfoil Weevil (E. lecontei), as a biological treatment method. This was explored in the past, around 2009, but was abandoned. According to the 2009 Milfoil Program Annual Report, the weevil has been used in lakes across the various States to limited success. According to the 2009 report: 

    "Diver hand removal, hand cutting, or a combination of such methods still seems to be the best option given the circumstances in Christina Lake. According to Aquatechnix (2006), “In summary, the only real option for Christina Lake given the stated objective is some combination of diver operations.” A combination of diver hand removal, controlled cutting, cooperative plant removal projects, and possibly a small amount of Mechanical Control or Biocontrol in certain sites appears to be the best approach at this time to controlling Christina Lake’s Eurasian Milfoil population."

    I hope this is helpful and please let us know if you have any more questions.

    Gabe

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    The weed boat appears to deal with a small area along the shoreline only to head to another area. Why doesn’t the boat/divers continue of a consistent track along the entire shoreline? Also is there a map depicting the proportion Heavy contamination to low contamination) of milfoil in various areas of the entire lake?

    bnordman Asked 10 months ago

    Hi there,

    Thank you for your question and comment.

    On the story map website, there is a map section which shows several different analysis, one of them being plant density. Feel free to click on the map to navigate around the lake and look at other sites around the lake. If you click on one of the points, a pop up will give you all the information at that site.

    There are around 575 sites where we track progress of the Milfoil program. The divers work on a 'site' basis rather than a 'continuous track' in order analyze the effectiveness of the program through tracking number of plants removed and density over the years at each site.

    Gabe