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Hague and Gunflint Lakes are one of ​our most treasured swimming and recreation areas.

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Hague and Gunflint Lakes are one of the island’s most treasured swimming and recreation areas.

Hague and Gunflint Lakes are one of the island’s most treasured swimming and recreation areas.

Hague and Gunflint Lakes are one of the island’s most treasured swimming and recreation areas.


We are conducting a long term community led water quality monitoring program on Hague and Gunflint Lakes.

Monitoring Program

Following the appearance of algal blooms on the lakes in 2014, FOCI initiated a long term community based water monitoring program for Hague and Gunflint lakes, guided by the BC Lake Stewardship Society and the Ministry of Environment. The program is designed to establish baseline data and to track changes over time, so we have a better understanding of the lakes’ ecology and what is happening to them.

Our lake volunteers conduct monthly water quality monitoring at the deep water stations on each lake – marked by FOCI buoys. This includes taking water samples to record total nitrogen and phosphorus, and taking measurements for temperature, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids and pH at different depths. We also use a Secchi disc to measure turbidity (water clarity).

In the summer and fall of 2014, we collected coliform samples to assess the presence of faecal contamination in the water. In accordance with Ministry standards, these samples were taken at 14 perimeter sites once per week for a 5-week period during key seasonal intervals.

Water Quality

The results indicated that all water from both Hague and Gunflint Lakes should be treated before drinking. It also indicated that both lakes are above provincial guidelines for apparent colour (TOC). As a result, UV filtration may not be an effective treatment method for Hague & Gunflint Lakes drinking water, as UV filters require TOC levels to be within a lower range.

In 2017 we received new lake monitoring equipment and training from the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Network (CBEMN), which is allowing us to increase accuracy of sampling in the lakes.

Recording what we find

We upload our monitoring results onto CBEMN data base, which allows us to share our data and results with conservation organisation and researchers across the country.

Findings to date

Our research has shown while the lakes are relatively healthy, they remain at risk, and we need to take action to reduce nutrient input to help stabilize them and ensure they stay healthy for the future.

Our findings to date are set in our 2017 Hague and Gunflint Lakes Monitoring Report.

State of the Lakes Report

From 2017, we plan to produce an annual ‘State of the Lakes’ report, where we will review our monitoring results, and let you know what has been happening each year.

Lake monitoring volunteers

Our monitoring program depends on our team of dedicated lake volunteers, we are always on the look out for new people, so if you want to get involved, please contact us at the FOCI office.

Join the FOCI family

Become a Friends of Cortes Island member and support the work that we’re doing in the community to help look after our beautiful island.

Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI) is a charitable organization that has been active for over 25 years. Our organization exists to monitor and preserve the health of local ecosystems, and to provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. Through all of our projects, we work to promote environmental integrity through community responsibility.