Annual Reports, 2021 - 2023
Our first Annual Report was issued a the end of September 2022. The decision to frame the report from September to September is driven by a profound event that occurs each year as Hotel Lake drops to it's lowest level. In some years, the water level drops very low as it did over the past two years 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.
September 2022 marked the end of the first year of recording precise lake-level observations. A year earlier, 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. The simplified chart below displays lake level in inches above the reference point during the period Aug 2021 to August 2022.
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 will be 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. Aside from evaporation, 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.
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.
Scroll down for the most recent Annual Report
20021-2022 Annual Report
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 lake 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 on the lake, 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.
New Website Pages and Updates in 2021 and 2022
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 materials are available in our library and its annexes. Here are the pages that were added during the past years:
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.
2022 -2023 Annual Report
2022-2023, New web pages published:
We were pleased to bring you 14 new webpages over the past year
November Ticks and Lyme disease
December Coyote & Arsenic in Drinking Water
January Common Loon
February Hooded Meranzer & Rosevelt Elk
March Black-Tailed Deer
May Pacific Blue Heron & Update on Babesiosis
August Dragonfly & Damselfly
September UBC Jellyfish Project
October Cougar & Annual Report
The Past 12 Months
Here is a brief summary of some of the events and happenings in the past 12 months. For more in depth information on any of these subjects, please delve into our growing list of webpages.
Listening to you, our neighbours, we were disturbed to hear of a local wetland where large equipment was used to install culvert pipes to presumably drain the wetland. By checking carefully and assembling all the facts available we are able to write this story, as we understand it be. You will read about how our neighbours were successful in registering a complaint with our Bylaw office and what happened as a result. This information appears at the end of our existing web page, “Wetland”, in which we previously covered the pressing world-wide issue of trying to preserve wetlands and even create new wetlands. We also created a new page called “Draining a Wetland”.
In November of 2022, a front page story appeared in the Coast Reporter concerning elevated arsenic levels in treated domestic water pumped from a local well. A “do not use” notice was subsequently issued by Vancouver Coastal Health. This is not the first nor is it likely to be the last time that reports of high arsenic levels in some sources of drinking water emerge in such a public fashion. Every time this issue surfaces, we are all faced with the same question: what’s going on? As always, our response is to gather information and share it with you here in the hope that we can better understand this potentially serious health issue. We created a new page called “Arsenic”.
We updated our page: “Common Loon” which included worrisome information that we have not seen a mating pair of Loon’s on Hotel Lake during the past 11 years. This year we had a number of adult Loon sightings but sadly no mating pairs and no young chicks were seen.
Reni Ducich shared a stunning photo of a Rosevelt Elk taken in January on Sinclair Bay Road. By coincidence a female (cow) elk was also caught on camera beside Beaumont Road in the early morning of January 15th. We plan to do a page on this species in the future.
Babesiosis: new tick-borne disease similar to malaria called babesiosis was reported in Canada. It is a parasite called babesia that is transmitted primarily through the bite of black-legged ticks and it infects human blood cells. We added this information in an update on our “Tick and Lyme Disease” page.
On May 13 we received word that the long-awaited peamouth chub spawning event was happening late that afternoon at the mouth of Hotel Creek. This information is published on our “Fish and Fisheries” page.
On May 22 Jim Little, on the south shore, alerted us to a pale grey bio-mass (looked like large rice noodles), each about 6 inches long and about 3/4" in diameter and with a jelly-like consistency, growing on a dock rope. A new webpage “Dragonflies and Damselflies” shed light on this subject.
Early in July we were visited by UBC Professor Evgeny Pakhomov, and his associate Dr. Florian Lüskow. That visit was essentially a training session on land and on the lake to qualify six local volunteers to take samples and record data about jellyfish in Hotel Lake. Between July and September, seventeen sample/data operations dubbed “stations” were carried out on the lake by the volunteers.
Hotel Lake wetland: In late in August, after a long period of dry weather, the water table and the lake level were both very low. Similarly affected was the wetland at the east end of Hotel Lake along with it’s associated creeks, which were dry. Inland these dry watercourses are about a half-metre wide and approaching the lake shore they widen to about a metre and have a boggy bottom and, in the last few meters before the lake, they cradle shallow lake water at the mouth. We added an updated depiction of this wetland along with photos on our page titled: “Wetlands”
Roads: Unresolved concerns about our road infrastructure are ongoing. These roads are narrow and, in most places, lack pedestrian walking space. The Mixal Lake curve has cause great concern. Also our roads seem to be plagued with subsidence issues and sink holes (remember: Great Hotel Lake Sinkhole). Recently, these narrow roads have also been used by some 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 road-side/lake-side riparian areas and the wildlife that live in and around Hotel Lake.
Following the UBC Jellyfish project, we saw how the efforts of local volunteers made a great contribution to further scientific understanding. We published a new page: "UBC Study of Freshwater Jellyfish", which covers this volunteer-enabled project.
Over the past year we documented the steady decline in water level in Hotel Lake. As our data shows, at the end of September, the lake was considerably lower than usual. This might be a good time to build on the experiences of volunteers working with UBC to see if a system of routine observation and testing of Hotel Lake water is feasible. As you will read below, such an opportunity exixts!
BC Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS): The BCLSS is dedicated to the strengthening of the stewardship sector by ensuring that the preservation and protection of British Columbia’s lakes, is firmly established with BCLSS providing the necessary organization, training and leadership.
Here is an opportunity, similar to the efforts of the six local volunteers who worked with UBC. BCLSS can help local citizens to organize the gathering of scientific data under their mission-mandate which is coordinated with various government ministries.
If you are concerned about Hotel Lake and interested in the concept of stewardship, you will likely appreciate reading more about BCLSS at this link: https://www.bclss.org/
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.
2021-2022 Account balance carried forward: 297.15
Donations received over the past 12 months: 380.00
Cost: Website hosting until 2025: 418.50
Cost: eTransfer Fee: 1.50
Current Account Bal: 257.15
Submitted by HLAA Treasurer