How Low Can It Go?

Lost Lagoon’s shores are extending into “beaches” as water levels dip during Vancouver’s dry summer. Park Board biologist Nick Page explains how the lake’s water levels are managed with an eye on wildlife:

  • Several years ago the Park Board stopped pumping potable water into Lost Lagoon in the summer as part of our City-wide efforts to conserve drinking water. Historically, it was one of the largest users of potable water in the city (up 350,000 cubic meters of water per year!)

  • the City’s own by-law restricts the use of water in non-recirculating water features including ponds and lakes
  • fish and wildlife in the lagoon are adapted to summer drought and move to areas of deeper water if needed. There is no risk to fish and wildlife at this time. In fact, some species benefit from the small mudflats and other shoreline features that are exposed by the low water level
  • natural wetlands often experience summer low water levels or seasonally dry conditions; this is a natural process even in coastal BC and wetland plants and animals are adapted to these conditions
  • the lagoon will refill in the fall when rains return
  • the Park Board will monitor water levels and if they decline to the point where there are risks to fish and wildlife or other park values, we will ensure adequate water is added to the lagoon

Lost Lagoon’s shores this summer. Low water levels are creating extra habitat for mudflat feeders like shorebirds. (Photo: K.Stormont/SPES)