Flipside Kids Learn About Water Quality

This Sylvan Lake News story was published in the April 20 edition:

Children involved in the drop-in programs at the Flipside Youth Centre were taught some things about that big body of water at the north end of town, on April 13.

President Graeme Strathdee and Director-at-Large Susan Samson of the Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society gave an interactive presentation on the science surrounding the waters of Sylvan Lake.

Both representatives provided various examples of what affects water quality in the lake, as well aswhat procedures are used to test the quality of that water, such as pH testing.

“They talked to kids on how they do testing for farm runoff, and what comes out of rainwater thatends up in the lake,” said Deshon Lennard an FCC Youth Services Coordinator with the Town ofSylvan Lake.

Lennard said that in their presentation, Strathdee and Samson explained all the factors that affectthe lake, from tourist activity to bacteria from garbage. Their presentation also had a hands-onaspect, with children carrying out experiments that tested tap water quality.

“The kids got to do a scaled down version of the larger activities, with one simulating the types ofwater in the lake with cups,” said Lennard. “Each cup represented geographic areas in the lake, andthey used food colouring to differentiate the distinct areas of the lake.”

Lennard said that last Thursday’s session was part of a larger educational segment of the youthcentre’s programming called Power-up Thursday, whereby children engage in educational activities,that “engage them in diverse areas of science and math.”

“The kids were very interested and curious,” said Lennard. “They learned something new, and tooksome pride in learning about the water in the lake, because they’re from here.”

Our Stewardship Science message was built around this slideshow of water quality sampling of Sylvan Lake and Golf Course Creek.


Can you collect a composite sample of lake water like Breda is doing? Flipside kids can.

Thanks to Sam Macdonald, new SLN reporter just arrived from NS, for the reprinted story.



Water Quality Sampling in 2016

The Society has organized another water quality sampling campaign in cooperation with the Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) because the lake received little runoff from snow melt or early season rain. That means the main loading of the lake by nutrients carried off the land is absent. So 2016 should turn out to be a special case with atmospheric  fallout and internal sources becoming more significant for feeding phytoplankton that start the food chain in the lake.


Breda prepares to sample a column of water at one of the stations.

ALMS lake tech Breda Muldoon, a graduate of the U of S in toxicology, will lead the project for the Society. Five sampling dates are scheduled between June 12, the first day, and the end of season measurements in September. The captain and guide of his pontoon boat sampling platform is Ed Thiessen of Norglenwold.


Sample of lake-bottom water recovered for analysis


Plankton sample captured from the bottom to the top of the lake

To see a photo album of the first day’s expedition, click here. The cover photo shows the ten sampling stations distributed over the lake area, as well as the location of the deepest water point at which extra water and plankton samples are recovered together with instrumental readings of temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen at 0.5 metre intervals down to the bottom at 18 metres.





Do-It-Yourself GIS for Your Watershed

Learn how to build a Geographic Information System for your Alberta watershed by using this starter kit from the Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society.

The process involves downloading free software, acquiring georeferenced data for your land and lake area, and creating maps that will help you to understand and make better decisions about your watershed.


Click on the AltaLIS web page image to expand it/

The linked slideshow and notes explain the GIS software options, where to find and download GIS data and imagery, and some of the useful mapping functions that will help you to survey your environment, answer questions, and to add value to your GIS project.

Join the Watershed Stewardship Society

Here is the text of a message recently sent to members of the Society.

Some computers and devices have not received all the electronic content correctly, so it is reproduced here. Click on all the active links to read all the news and to discover what’s been happening.

Please note that memberships may be renewed, or even acquired for the first time, by clicking on the “Be an Active Member” invitation in the right hand margin of this page.


Thank you for your past support in helping us advocate for a sustainable, healthy lake and watershed.  Our strength is in numbers.  We rely on a growing and committed membership to remain strong and effective.  Your annual membership fee of $20 supports our watershed protection projects and provides you with ‘active’ status and a vote at our 2015 Annual General Meeting in September,

Your Society has been active again this year.

  • We reported on two water quality sampling projects on the major tributaries Golf Course Creek and Northwest Creek that provide an early warning of changes to nutrients flowing into the lake and the potential for blooms of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae..
  • Members supplied boat access for the ALMS LakeWatch water quality and Invasive Species
  • We continue to recognize property owners for completing Living by Water property assessments with our distinctive “Kent Williamson” SLWSS yard sign for watershed conservation and water quality awareness.
  • The SLWSS represents Sylvan Lake at meetings of Watershed Stewardship Groups to share information on new legislation, regulations, water quality monitoring, and threats to Central Alberta’s Recreational Lakes.
  • Kent Lyle’s Quiet Enjoyment Initiative team has pioneered a project that is focused on community standards for noise emissions on Sylvan Lake in summer and winter seasons.
  • Our watershed blog site http://slwssnews.com is the source of all important news on Sylvan Lake and our watershed.
  • We assist the Alberta Geological Survey and Alberta Agriculture to understand our watershed setting and we provide technical information on groundwater and nutrient transport from the land into the lake.
  • We represent you as a non-voting member of the Sylvan Lake Management Committee and contribute input to municipal developments in the watershed.

To renew your membership, or become a new active member and a Watershed Stewardship Society supporter, please mail your cheque for $20.00 to:

Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, Box 9012, Sylvan Lake, Alberta T4S 1S6

You may prefer to use our new electronic payment option. Please click on this Be an Active Member “Buy Now” PayPal button in the right hand margin to reach our secure SLWSS-PayPal web page where you may renew your membership using a credit card or your own PayPal account. PayPal will notify us about your transaction.

http://slwss.org            http://slwssnews.com            https://twitter.com/SylvanLakeWSS

 Click here to read the SLWSS 2014 Annual Report