I was glad to read the story in regard to the province’s plan to restore the kokanee stocks in Kootenay Lake, but I am not confident that the measures they talked about will do the trick.
According to biologists, there are too many predators in the lake and not enough prey. They are definitely right about the prey. Kokanee spawning numbers in the Meadow Creek spawning channel have fallen from 500,000 five years ago to 10,000 last year. That is not just a precipitous drop, it is bordering on extinction. I do not agree that there are too many predators. I think if that was true, we would be seeing huge catches of skinny trout, easily caught, and to my knowledge this is not the case.
The article goes on to list what is seen as the solution, and part of that plan includes nutrient addition. In other words, pouring the Elephant brand fertilizer into it. This is definitely good for Teck, as it is a mighty big garden patch to fertilize, but what if the addition of this smelter byproduct is a big part of the problem?
There is a dam upstream of the north end of the lake that generates not one bit of electricity. Its only function is to store water for later generation. As a byproduct it also helps somewhat with flood control. The downside is that it stops the natural nutrient flow, and prevents the fish from reaching their natural spawning grounds.
If we were really serious about taking a step to restore Kootenay Lake to its former glory we would be talking about taking out this useless obstruction. But BC Hydro would never allow it. They are in the business of making money, not the business of repairing the damage they have already done and continue to do to the environment.
Rod Retzlaff, Glade