Kootenay Lake: Difference between revisions

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Kootenay Lake is a long, narrow and deep [[fjord]]-like lake located between the [[Selkirk Mountains|Selkirk]] and [[Purcell Mountains|Purcell]] [[mountain range]]s in the [[Kootenays|Kootenay]] region of British Columbia.<ref name=geography/><ref name=lake/> It is one of the largest lakes in British Columbia, at 104&nbsp;km in length and 3–5&nbsp;km in width.<ref name=museum/> It is, in part, a widening of the [[Kootenay River]], which in turn drains into the [[Columbia River]] system at [[Castlegar, British Columbia]].<ref name=museum/>
Although oriented primarily in a north-south configuration, a western arm positioned roughly halfway up the length of the lake stretches 35&nbsp;km to the City of [[Nelson, British Columbia|Nelson]].<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/?townID=4108 |title=Kootenay Lake, British Columbia, Canada |publisher=Britishcolumbia.com |date= |accessdate=2013-05-02}}</ref> The lake is 532m above sea level,<ref name=museum/> with the adjacent mountains rising up to a maximum of approximately 2700m.<ref name=geography/> The average residence for water in the lake is 1.5 years, although the west arm has a much faster rate of water replacement; about 3–4 days.<ref name=geography>[http://kootenay-lake.ca/geography/numbers/, Kootenay Lake, Retrieved February 15, 2011]{{Dead link|date=February 2020 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}</ref>
[[File:Kokanee Creek Prov Park2 BC Rockies Px.jpg|thumb|left|Beach at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park]]
== History ==
Kootenay Lake is part of the traditional territory of the [[Sinixt]] and [[Ktunaxa]] peoples.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.vancouverisland.com/regions/towns/?townid=4108 |title=Vancouver Island, Kootenay Lake, Kootenays, BC, Retrieved February 15, 2011 |publisher=Vancouverisland.com |accessdate=2013-05-02 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20140714143302/http://www.vancouverisland.com/regions/towns/?townid=4108 |archivedate=July 14, 2014 }}</ref> These native populations used the lake and associated river systems as part of their seasonal migration and trading routes.<ref name=lake>[http://www.ilec.or.jp/database/nam/nam-25.html, International Lake Environment Committee, Promoting Sustainable Management of the World's Lakes and Reservoirs, KOOTENAY LAKE, Retrieved February 15, 2011.]{{Dead link|date=February 2020 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}</ref>
In 1958 the [[Kootenay Lake Crossing]], an [[Electric power transmission|electrical power line]], was built, running across the north arm of Kootenay Lake. It was destroyed in 1962 by protestors and rebuilt later that year.<ref>[http://www.fortisbc.com/about_fortisbc/company/history.html Fortis BC, Retrieved February 15, 2011.] {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20101224212908/http://www.fortisbc.com/about_fortisbc/company/history.html |date=December 24, 2010 }}</ref>
The lake originally seasonally [[flood]]ed an approximately 80&nbsp;km long [[marsh]] lying to the lake's south within the [[Creston Valley]]. However, this has now been [[dike (construction)|diked]] and converted to commercial [[agriculture]]. A smaller wetland area has been protected in this area.
In 1931, [[Corra Linn Dam]] was built at the outflow from Kootenay Lake, where it once again became a river.<ref>[http://archive.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/bcgn-bin/bcg10?name=51921, BC geographical names, Corra Linn Dam, Retrieved February 15, 2011.]{{Dead link|date=February 2020 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}</ref> The dam provides flood control and winter power generation by raising the normal water level by two meters. Just down river is [[Kootenay River#The Falls|Bonnington Falls]], today the site of several [[hydroelectric dams]]. In 2003 the lake discharged 16.9 billion cubic metres of water. High water for that year was a normal 533 metres, the record is 537 metres in 1961.<ref>http://www.ijc.org/rel/boards/Kootenay_Lake/klbc_2003_annual_report.pdf</ref> In 1967 as part of the [[Columbia River Treaty]] the [[Duncan Dam]] was constructed above Kootenay Lake on the [[Duncan River]], creating a 7,145 hectare reservoir for flow control.<ref name=cominco/> Also part of the treaty [[Libby Dam]] in Montana, was completed in 1975.
== Fauna ==
Kootenay Lake is populated with many species of fish, such as [[Rainbow trout]], [[Salvelinus confluentus|Bull Trout]], [[Lota lota|Burbot]], [[Prosopium williamsoni|Mountain Whitefish]], [[Acipenser transmontanus|White Sturgeon]], [[Salvelinus fontinalis|Brook Trout]], [[Micropterus salmoides|Largemouth Bass]], [[Perca flavescens|Yellow Perch]] and [[Sockeye salmon|Kokanee Salmon]].<ref name=lake/>
There was a large decrease in the numbers of Kokanee in the west arm of the lake in the late 1970s. The salmon fishery was closed in 1980 and remains closed as of 2011. The reason for the decline is not known; possibilities include reduced numbers of [[Mysis relicta]] (which had been introduced as a food source for the Kokanee in 1949)<ref name=cominco/><ref name=flyfish>[http://www.fly-fish-bc.com/FFBC%20Lakes/Kootenay%20Lake%20Karma.html, Fly Fish BC, Kootenay Lake Karma, Retrieved February 15, 2011.]</ref> into the west arm due to the increased control of water levels, the disruption of rearing habitat due to recurring [[Drawdown (hydrology)|drawdown]] of the lake, reduced productivity of [[benthos]] due to the reduction of the amount of nutrients into the lake (after the close of the fertilizer plant), overfishing in the 1960s to 1970s<ref name=lake/> or competition between the Mysis relicta and immature fish.<ref name=flyfish/> In 1990 the lake's southern Kokanee stocks neared extinction, and an experimental fertilizing program was started, with some success.<ref>[http://www.livinglandscapes.bc.ca/cbasin/history/aquaticresearch-management.htm, Royal BC Museum, Retrieved February 15, 2011.]{{Dead link|date=February 2020 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}</ref><ref name=cominco/>
==Human use and impact==
===Upstream Influences ===
In 1953 water quality in the lake was negatively affected when the [[Cominco]] phosphate fertilizer plant on the Kootenay River at [[Kimberley, British Columbia|Kimberley]] opened.<ref name=cominco>[http://www.fwcp.ca/version2/about/background.php, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Background and History, Retrieved February 15, 2011.]{{Dead link|date=February 2020 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}</ref> Large quantities of [[phosphorus]] entered the Kootenay River; the cause of [[cyanobacteria]]l blooms from the 1950s until the early 1970s. This plant closed in 1973 eliminating these phosphates.<ref name=cominco/> The construction of the [[Libby Dam]] on the [[Kootenai River]] in [[Montana]] and the Duncan Dam 1967 on the Duncan river, combined to further reduce natural phosphorus levels in the lake from the recorded highs.<ref name=lake/>
=== Ferry ===