FOKLSS Looks Back at Kokanee Creek Beach Clean-up

friends of kooteany lake

It was a valiant effort from The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society the weekend before last as polystyrene foam and more was cleaned from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park's beach.

Assistant Program Manager Kayla Tillapaugh calls it a pain-staking task but says volunteers made a pretty big difference overall, removing roughly 80% of the foam from Kokanee Creek Beach and potentially upwards of 95% on the Redfish Beach-side.

She explains that it's the lake’s older docks that create the polystyrene foam pollution: when deteriorating, blocks of foam are released from the docks and crash and disintegrate onto Kootenay Lake shorelines.

Tillapaugh says the foam is harmful to more than just wildlife, but the greater environment and humans as well.

She says water fowl and fish are commonly observed consuming the foam which contains a toxic chemical called styrene, which is cancer-causing in humans, and gets into the fatty tissues of animals who consume it.

Tillapaugh says the weirdest thing volunteers found was a massive beached dock that had broken loose and landed on the shore before the water-level dropped; she adds this could be hazardous to boaters when the water-level rises especially considering it’s weight.

The EZ Rock Newsroom will soon have more on The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society’s month-long clean-up event running through April.