Ward Lake as healthy as ever

Ward Lake, at the start of the Grand Forks' North Fork, is at near-record size with plenty of water and plenty of waterfowl.

Grand Forks resident Larry Jmaiff enjoys the view from his deck of Ward Lake

While both the Granby and Kettle Rivers are flowing very low, one nearby lake is doing quite well.

Ward Lake, at the start of the North Fork, is at near-record size with plenty of water and plenty of waterfowl such as geese and ducks enjoying the plentiful water.

Local resident Larry Jmaiff lives on the lake and has been there for 17 years. He said the lake is as high as he remembers it.

“About five years ago there was nothing but bull rushes and grass growing here,” he told the Gazette. “All of a sudden it was almost all dried out but then it kept coming back.”

According to regional fisheries staff, Ward Lake is classified as unmanageable due to a private water allocation licence and associated pump intake at the north end.

Graham Watt, coordinator of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, has a theory behind why the lake is so high. Watt did explain that he was not a hydro-biologist and is simply giving his opinion.

“I have spoken to a number of people who know more than me,” he admitted. “When the river levels are low and we are in a drought, yet the lowlands are high, there’s something funny going on.”

Watt said that in the winter there was a lot of rain and rain on snow. “When you have this amount of precipitation in the winter time, the trees and shrubs and plants, they’re not transpiring (sending out) water into the atmosphere,” he said. “So in the winter if you get rain instead of snow, you get water pushing into the ground and running through the shallow ground water table and starting to fill up the springs and wetlands and things like that.”

Watt said if you get snow in the winter it turns into runoff in the spring that runs into the river but less into the wetland.