Why do a study?

  • Lake residents and visitors are concerned about the overall Water Quality, Algal, and Weed growth observed at Emma Lake over the last few years.
  • Without scientific data it is difficult to quantify the health and sustainability of our lake and difficult to demonstrate progress towards prescribed goals.
  • Our water quality sampling objectives will build upon an extensive data set of water transparency measures. We anticipate building a relationship between water transparency, which is affected by algal growth and sediment load, and intermittently obtained samples of Chlorophyll A, Total Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen. This low-cost alternative to intensive nutrient sampling will permit community members an opportunity to measure and assess their progress in reducing nutrient impact in both a scientifically meaningful and defensible way1-3.

Study Plan

  • A two-three-year study that began in the summer of 2018
  • A partnership between the District of Lakeland, Sask Polytechnic and the North Saskatchewan River Basin Council (NSRBC)

Prime Objectives: Not a Total Solution but Sustainability and Prevention

  • Gather baseline data on turbidity and water clarity levels in the three sections of Emma Lake through the open water period and try and determine seasonal trends or patterns
  • Use turbidity and transparency data to try and get a better understanding of the impact of sediments and nutrient loads on algal and weed growth
  • Create a detailed bathymetric map of the three lakes and look for any correlation between depth, turbidity, and transparency.
  • Assess the contribution of sediment resuspension to turbidity and transparency
  • Determine the affects of all types of boats on sediment resuspension and nutrients during shallow water operation
  • Identify any nutrient hot spots or areas of higher nutrient levels and the causes of such areas
  • Develop an education component of the study in conjunction with the NSRBC to engage lake users on way to improve Water Quality and shoreline health

Main Contributors to Nutrient Loading – the release of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients into the environment:

Overland

  • Drainage
  • Runoff sediments
  • Surrounding water storage

Human Contributions

  • Septic systems and gray water (sinks, washers, tubs/showers, hot tubs)
  • Fertilizers – nitrogen & Phosphorus – lawns (37% of lots lawns to water)
  • Fuels
  • Lot clearing

Re-suspension of Sediments

  • Weather – wind/waves
  • Boats
  • Lot clearing & shore works

Study Team

  • David Halstead – Project Co-Ordinator, resident of Emma Lake, instructor at SKPoly for over 30 years
  • SaskPoly students, recent graduates of SaskPoly GIS program
  • District of Lakeland EAC – Daryl Jessop, Keith Dahl, Tom Laxdal, Wayne Hyde. These 4 members are providing field assistance and their boats to gather data with the student

Study Funding

  • District of Lakeland #521 – Environmental Advisory Committee budget
  • CICan Grant – Colleges & Institutes Canada

References

  1. Kratzer CR, PL Brezonik. 1981. A Carlson-type Trophic State Index for nitrogen in Florida Lakes. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Volume 17, Issue 4 (713-715).
  2. Walker WW Jr., 1979. Use of hypolimnetic oxygen depletion rate as a Trophic State Index for lakes. Water Resources Research: Volume 15, No.6 (1463-1470).
  3. Carlson RE and J Simpson. 1996. A Coordinator’s Guide to Volunteer Lake Monitoring Methods. North American Lake Management Society. 96 pp.