In 2016, ALMS received funding from the Beaver River Watershed Alliance through the Lakeland Industry and Community Association (LICA), Environment Canada, the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association, the MD of Wainwright, Cargill and Alberta Environment and Parks, to conduct LakeWatch, a volunteer based water quality monitoring program.
Data presented below has not completed its final validation process.
Three summer field technicians (Ageleky Bouzetos, Breda Muldoon and Alicia Kennedy) were hired in May of 2016 to conduct the water quality sampling. Each lake was to be visited five times throughout the summer, and, in 2016, 125 of 135 scheduled trips were completed. This resulted in a completion rate of 93% (Table 1). Missed trips were a result of volunteer availability and unsafe weather.
Table 1: The LakeWatch sample completion record for 2016.
In 2016, ALMS worked with 80 unique volunteers for a total of 571 volunteer hours spent sampling lakes. Each year, ALMS recognizes one volunteer who has shown outstanding dedication and commitment to the LakeWatch program. This year, Bev Smith of Laurier Lake was presented with the LakeWatch Volunteer of the Year Award (Figure 1).
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 2016 ranged from a minimum of 0.40 m at Antler Lake to a maximum of 5.55 m at Hubbles Lake (Figure 2). Water clarity at Antler and Little Beaver Lake appears to be most negatively impacted by algal blooms, and Secchi depth averages were significantly correlated with average chlorophyll-a concentrations across lakes (r = 0.89, df = 25, p-value = 4.85 x 10-10).
Average total phosphorus concentrations ranged from a minimum of 9 μg /L at Burnstick Lake to a maximum of 380 μg/L at Antler Lake (Figure 3). Antler and Little Beaver Lake were classified as hypereutrophic, and only Burnstick Lake was classified as oligotrophic.
Average chlorophyll-a concentrations ranged from a minimum of 3.4 μg /L at Touchwood Lake to a maximum of 121 μg /L at Antler Lake (Figure 4). Chlorophyll-a and TP averages were significantly correlated across lakes (r = 0.89, df = 25, p-value = 3.63 x 10-10).
Average microcystin concentrations fell below the minimum detection limit of 0.1 μg/L at Chestermere, Marie, Pinehurst, Touchwood, Burnstick, Arm and Spring Lakes (Figure 5). Microcystin was detected at every other lake, with the highest average concentration observed at Little Beaver Lake, measuring 5.03 μg /L. None of the lakes sampled measured higher than the recreational guideline of 20 μg /L at any time throughout the summer of 2016.
A detailed data summary of each lake sampled can be found in the 2016 LakeWatch reports which will be published late this spring.