Annual Report, 2021 - 2022
The end of September 2022 seems to be an appropriate opportunity to present our first Annual Report. The decision to frame the report from September to September is driven by a profound event that occurs each year. September is usually the month when the lake drops to its lowest level. In some years, the water level drops very low as it did last year and when that happens it may cause concern to those living around and near the lake. We watch and wonder how low it will drop and why. It is this concern about the low point in September that serves as an appropriate time for an annual report to review the past year and then to anticipate the next cycle of replenishment, rising levels, Hotel Lake Creek running, all followed by a typical hot-dry summer.
September 2022 also marks the end of the first year of recording precise lake-level observations. Last year, when the lake was at its lowest point, a precise lake level reference point was set in Hotel Lake; this level is tabulated as "0". Since then, lake level readings have been recorded. Our goal is to gather information and share it; accordingly these lake level readings have been converted into a simple chart which appears below. This chart displays lake level in inches above the reference point over the period of one year.
This is a modest but important beginning because lake water level is one of the important indicators concerning the general health of a shallow lake such as Hotel Lake. Archived monthly rainfall data and ambient temperature data will also be gathered and added to the chart in the future. Additionally, the running-times of the lake’s exit at the mouth of Hotel Creek, Peamouth Chub spawning dates, rainfall data, atmospheric-river events and long dry spells will be incorporated.
There are two naturally occurring factors influencing Hotel Lake that are beyond our ability to observe. They are water “seepage” from the lake bottom into surrounding fractured bedrock which hosts Aquifer #559 and the second factor is the possible existence of “springs” beneath the surface that may feed water into the lake.
The Past Year in Review
By October 27, 2022, fall rains brought the lake level up to the mouth of Hotel Creek initiating winter outflow downstream towards Mixal Lake. The creek continued to flow all winter.
There were two Atmospheric River events. The November 14 event was extraordinary and caused high water levels in the lake and the upper creek area prior to traversing the culvert beneath Beaumont Road. On the north side of Beaumont Road lies a designated wetland which absorbed a lot of this water. Eventually the historically inadequate culvert under Irvines Landing Road became blocked, as it often does in winter, causing creek water to flood Irvines Landing Road. Driving at normal speed at night into this water can have unpredictable and dangerous consequences.
In late December, temperatures dipped and heavy snow fell. Thin ice, with snow on top, formed sporadically around the south island and other parts of the lake but at no time was the entire lake surface covered with ice. A second atmospheric river event in mid January created a second spike in the lake water level. Both of these events appear as spikes on the left side of the chart.
By the end of July the lake level dropped such that the creek was barely flowing; flow ceased altogether by mid August. The level at which Hotel Creek commences and stops flowing is variable depending on beaver activity, but observations over the year allow us to overlay the creek's flow/no flow level as a horizontal line on our chart.
Divers for Clean Lakes and Oceans:
One of highlights of the year was a January visit by a dive team who undertook the careful removal of garbage from the lake bottom. Working in 4 degree water, these dedicated divers did a wonderful job and while removing garbage also brought back a lot of information and observations about the lake bottom and the existence of large colonies of mussels.
Selected Updates on Wildlife:
Peamouth Chub: Their annual spawning event was recorded on video on May 7 at the mouth of Hotel Creek and spawning may have extended into the following day. More info on this can be found on our “Fish and Fisheries” page.
Painted Turtles: The ongoing efforts to protect these endangered amphibians has resulted in increased awareness. Not only is there a dedicated birthing sand bed, but just canoeing around the lake will offer many opportunities to see these creatures sunbathing. Find our more on our "Painted Turtle" page.
Beaver: Although the exact number of beavers in Hotel Lake is unknown, reports of seeing 2 or 3 at any one time persist. Three beavers were positively reported as being busy on the lake’s northwest island where they felled several trees. For more about this please visit our “Beaver” page.
River Otter: Over the New Year's timeframe, Hotel Lake experienced snow and parts of the lake were ice covered. At least three river otters were observed “playing” (sliding on the ice). Later in the spring, three otters (most likely a mother and two nearly full grown pups) routinely ended their nocturnal hunting with early morning diving over the lake's mussel beds. In the late Spring they disappeared while the female, most likely, mated with a visiting male which would be the time when the two pups would be forced to move-on. More info can be found on our "River Otter" page.
Racoons: Although not often seen, cameras have recently recorded a family of 4 racoons on night prowls on the north side of the lake.
Jellyfish: The tiny invasive Jellyfish called Craspedacusta have been recorded in Hotel Lake since 2001.
This summer, they seemed to appear slightly later than last year. By mid August groups of these jellyfish were easily sighted just below the surface in sunny areas. New information on these creatures has been added to our “Jellyfish” page.
Integrity of lake level data:
The collection of lake level readings (data) requires a permanent and immovable reference point from which readings are taken. Over the past year all readings were taken from a single immovable lake level reference point. This reference point was set at the lowest level of Hotel Lake in late August of 2021. A year later, In late August of 2022, three additional reference points were installed at different locations. All are installed and calibrated so that readings are identical in calm wind conditions. The redundancy of having four reference points will result in more readings being taken and will also protect our ability to collect data should damage occur to any one of them.
New Website Pages and Updates Over the Past Year
We continuously update information and edit the website. Additionally we publish a newsletter each month to introduce one, or occasionally two, new web pages. These pages are available at all times for reference and a large number of documents and reference material are available in our library and its annexes. Here are the pages that were added during the past year:
Thank you to all who graciously donated towards the modest costs of maintaining our www.hotellakeadvisory.com website. The following financial report shows income from your donations and expenditures for website hosting and domain name registration.
Hotel Lake Advisory Association Financial Report, Sep, 2022
Introduction: On 25 Sep 2021 the HLAA opened a bank account with the Pender Harbour Branch of the Sunshine Coast Credit Union. The account is used to pay HLAA website-hosting and domain name expenses and for depositing donations to HLAA.
This annual report included brief reports on Hotel Lake and some of the wildlife but there were many other significant events and issues over the past year.
Amongst them are the unresolved concerns about our road infrastructure. These roads are narrow and, in most places, lack pedestrian walking space. They also seem to be plagued with subsidence issues and sink holes (remember: Great Hotel Lake Sinkhole). Recently, these narrow roads have been used by the public as lakeside campgrounds. The unregulated recreational use of road allowances as campgrounds, will put even greater pressure on these already-stressed public roadways, not to mention the riparian areas and the wildlife that live in and around Hotel Lake.