July 12 was the second day of the Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society-led 2016 campaign to sample and analyze the water quality of Sylvan Lake as part of the Society’s long-term project to monitor the condition of the lake and its tributaries. Alberta Lake Management Society’s field technician Breda Muldoon, a U of S toxicologist by training, follows the official lake monitoring protocol so that data meet the standards of the Alberta Environment lakes database. Charter captain Ed Thiessen of Norglenwold, and SLWSS directors Steven Johnson of Birchcliff S.V. and Graeme Strathdee of Sylvan Lake provided on-board assistance.
Steven Johnson and Breda Muldoon consult on data logging at the deep-lake station.
The water, plankton and invasive species samples that are collected are analyzed by Edmonton-area labs and results are eventually disclosed to the public by ALMS in a Lakewatch-series report, like this one for 2014.
Extra samples are taken this year to compare the nutrient composition near the surface and bottom of the lake at its deepest point. Phosphorous (the element P), an important nutrient for green phytoplankton, accumulates in the lake sediment and is released to the hypolimnion, an oxygen-depleted layer. As an in-lake diffuse source of P it is important for us to understand the potential for fertilization of chronic algal blooms when that layer is mixed through the water column by seasonal temperature cycles and water density changes.
The 2016 water quality monitoring project is funded by Alberta and feeral government agencies that support the work of ALMS, the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, and the SLWSS. The Sylvan Lake Management Committee has accepted our invitation to participate in the project as a learning experience. The inter-municipal group will contribute $500 to the project and provide two on-board observers for the August sampling dates.