In 2015, ALMS received funding from the Lakeland Industry and Community Association (LICA), Environment Canada, the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association (PLWA), the Beaver River Watershed Alliance, and the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA), to conduct LakeWatch, a volunteer based water quality monitoring program.
Data presented below has not completed its final validation process.
Three summer field technicians (Mohamad Youssef, Ageleky Bouzetos, and Laticia MacDonald) were hired in May of 2015 to conduct the water quality sampling. Each lake was to be visited five times throughout the summer, and, in 2015, 149 of 155 scheduled trips were completed. This resulted in a completion rate of 96% (Table 1). Each technician missed two trips as a result of volunteer availability.
In 2015, ALMS worked with nearly 100 unique volunteers for a total of 380 volunteer hours spent sampling lakes. Each year, ALMS recognizes one volunteer who has shown outstanding dedication and commitment to the LakeWatch program. This year, Ron Young of Crane Lake was presented with the LakeWatch Volunteer of the Year Award (Figure 1). A write-up of Ron Young was published on the ALMS website at /lakewatch-volunteers/.
While ALMS collects a large suite of water chemistry parameters, this report will attempt to highlight the variability which exists across only a few of our major parameters: Secchi Depth, Total Phosphorus, Chlorophyll-a, and Microcystin. The variation within these parameters does not necessarily reflect a degree of lake management, for many factors outside of human control also impact lake water quality. The depth of the lake, the size of the drainage basin, lake order, and the composition of bedrock and sediment are just some of the factors which affect lake water quality and should be taken into consideration when reading these results.
Average Secchi depths in 2015 ranged from a minimum of 0.58 m at Hardisty Lake to a maximum of 5.05 m at Lac Sante (Figure 2). Water clarity at Hardisty Lake appears to be most negatively impacted by suspended sediments rather than cyanobacteria blooms.
Average total phosphorus concentrations ranged from a minimum of 12.0 ug/L at Hanmore Lake to a maximum of 204 ug/L at Lac la Nonne (Figure 3). Concentrations at Muriel Lake (100.5 ug/L) seemed unusually high in comparison to historical averages.
Average chlorophyll-a concentrations ranged from a minimum of 2.9 ug/L at Hanmore Lake to a maximum of 73.9 ug/L at Isle Lake (Figure 4). The relationship between chlorophyll-a and total phosphorus appears weakest at Lac Sante, which had concentrations of 5.1 ug/L and 42.8 ug/L, respectively. This may be related to the presence of Lake Whiting events at Lac Sante. Such events were also observed at Crane Lake in 2015 (Figure 5).
Average microcystin concentrations fell below the minimum detection limit at Chestermere Lake, Elinor Lake, Hanmore Lake, Hubbles Lake, Matchayaw Lake, and Pinehurst Lake (Figure 5). Microcystin was detected at every other lake, with the highest average concentration observed at Muriel Lake, measuring 16.25 ug/L.
A detailed data summary of each lake sampled can be found in the 2015 LakeWatch reports which will be published late this spring.