A Bacterium that Kills Zebra and Quagga Mussels

The New York Times reported on February 25 that a strain of bacteria has been found that can kill off zebra and quagga mussels that threaten fresh water bodies.

Read the full NYT article here.

Bacterial control is not yet approved for lakes. The principle has only been demonstrated and tested in closed systems.

Kate Wilson, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator, Fish & Wildlife Policy Branch of Alberta Environment has advised the SLWSS News that trials of the commercial formulation Zequanox are being monitored and possible uses are being discussed for potential application if and when the product receives regulatory clearance for use.

Sylvan Lake continues to welcome boaters who understand the consequences of zebra and quagga mussel invasive species and who decontaminate their watercraft and marine equipment before launching. The bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens is not a substitute for responsible boating practices:

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Golf Course Creek Studied by the Town of Sylvan Lake

On November 12 the new Town of Sylvan Lake council received a report “Marina Bay/Golf Course Creek Study” prepared by Tagish Engineering. Soil and water samples from points in Sylvan Lake, Marina Bay and upstream in the Golf Course Creek catchment were collected and analyzed. The project data show how land use changes in the watershed can affect tributaries that flow into Sylvan Lake. This article in the Sylvan Lake News by Editor Steve Dills provides a summary of the Tagish Engineering report findings. The overall finding is not surprising that settling of silt in the bay is minimal from sources such as new development construction in the Town of Sylvan Lake and/or annual agricultural practices in Red Deer County. Wetlands and ponds on Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club property provide upstream locations for any suspended particles to settle before Golf Course Creek flow reaches Marina Bay.

The community remembers that Marina Bay exists because the natural protective wetland delta that once existed at the outlet of Golf Course Creek was excavated to create the reclaimed landfill area on which the Marina Bay development was built.

The two Laws of Watersheds apply in this case: (1) water flows downhill and (2) stuff from the land will end up in the lake. Nature trumps complaints of this type. Some Sylvan Lake citizens and taxpayers liked the original wetland the way it was. So did Sylvan Lake.

Groundwater Wells in the Sylvan Lake Watershed

The Town of Sylvan Lake, the Summer Villages, and all other domestic and agricultural users rely on groundwater.

This Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development website provides access to information on water wells withing the Sylvan Lake watershed.

Use the map control tools to zoom in on an area of interest and click on a well to discover the ID number. Then click on the ID link to call up the driller’s report on the well stratigraphy and the result of the pump flow test, if any.

Wells in the Sylvan Lake Watershed.v2

This map is a copy of the web page content. Click to enlarge.

Try out this useful ESRD database. Find your own well, and those of others in your neighborhood. Discover the depth from which your water is pumped. It your water source connected to Sylvan Lake itself? Are you really drinking lake water?

The Town of Sylvan Lake is by far the largest single water user although some of its production wells are located outside the official watershed boundary.

History of Sylvan Lake

Evan Verchomin, SLWSS director and resident of the Summer Village of Birchcliff, had his article about the history of settlement at Sylvan Lake published in the October 6th edition of the Sylvan Lake News.

Click on the linked text to open the story.

Be sure to view the related photo archive gallery on this SLWSS News web page.

Watershed Groups Meet at Pigeon Lake

The Pigeon Lake Watershed Association was the host for this year’s Alberta Lake Management Association (ALMS) workshop and 20th Annual Meeting on September 27 and 28.

Here are some notes from Day One:

Pigeon Lake has had lots of attention by government, sponsors and ESRD because of its algal bloom history, beach warnings, proximity to Edmonton, and the community organizations that have formed to protect that lake environment. The lake has an inter-municipal committee (the Association of Pigeon Lake Municipalities), plus a very active stewardship organization (the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association) that involves many subcommittees and volunteers. Fish kills and algal blooms provide the motivation for action. The groups cooperate well, and inform lake residents on many topics.

The Pigeon Lake Model Land Use Bylaw  was prepared to help municipalities meet the community’s standards and expectations.

Agriculture Canada has published the Field Manual on Buffer Design (for reduction of nutrient and sediment transport into streams and water bodies) by could be useful for investigating and assessing the risk potential of the land areas drained by Sylvan Lake’s tributaries.

Fertilizer Applications at Pigeon Lake. The PLWA presentation on “Banning Cosmetic Fertilizers”  will be posted soon on the ALMS website. Agronomic research reported by the International Plant Nutrition Institute on turf grass provides some useful facts relevant to nutrient runoff from lawns:

  1. Impact of Organic and Mineral Fertilizers on Run-off from Turf
  2. Phosphorus Runoff Losses from Lawns

Algal Blooms in US Freshwater Lakes in 2013

The Washington Post has reported on the deterioration of many lakes in the USA because of high nutrient loads transferred from surrounding agricultural land.

The headline reads:

Polluted farm runoff linked to toxic green algae slime in U.S. waters

The article was based on findings documented here by the National Wildlife Federation.

Remember: The Sylvan  Lake Total Phosphorus (TP) analysis is close to the limit of the meso-eutrophic guideline:

TP Limit for SLWSS News

Visit the Toxic Algae News web page to see the scope of the problem in the USA during the 2013 summer.

ASWQG means: Alberta Surface Water Quality Guideline


Proposed Environmental Goals for the Red Deer River Watershed

The Sylvan Lake watershed occupies 10.6 thousand hectares of the 4.965 million hectares in the Red Deer River watershed that extends across Central Alberta. See all the maps prepared for the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance (RDRWA) posted here.

The Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Red Deer River watershed will apply to Sylvan Lake that is a part of the Blindman River subwatershed. Sylvan Lake is connected to the Red Deer River as the lake overflows through Outlet Creek, then Cygnet Lake, and discharges into the Red Deer River west of the City of Red Deer.

The proposed objectives for:

  1. Water Quality in the Red Deer River Basin
  2. Riparian Areas, Wetlands & Land Use
  3. Surface Water Quantity and Groundwater Resources

will also be important references for management of our water resources in the Sylvan Lake watershed.

These background technical reports may be downloaded from the RDRWA website:

In addition, the Groundwater Atlas prepared for the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor study contains water cycle, water quality, and water quantity data that helps to put the Sylvan Lake watershed into regional perspective.

The SLWSS at the 2013 Eco Loco Environmental Fair

The Society presented a display at the Town of Sylvan Lake’s Eco Loco fair on Friday September 13.

The SLWSS banners explained what we stand for and do, and our poster highlighted four themes that are important to the watershed:

Click on the hyperlinks to learn more about the SLWSS display at Eco Loco 2013.

The Town of Sylvan Lake’s program included a puppet show of environmental stories for elementary school students presented by Wendy of the W.P. Puppet Theatre, a talk by Kelcie Miller Anderson on her research project on reclamation of oil sands tailings, an introduction to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre by founder and executive director Carol Kelly and to a rehabilitated owl by Judy Boyd. The Doll Sisters from Rocky Mountain House entertained at the chili dinner held on the Promenade lawn.

To see a slideshow of Eco Loco 2013, please click here.

Homesite Consultation Program Successful in 2013

Read about the scope and achievements of the Living by Water Project at Sylvan Lake in the Annual Report for 2013. The Nature Alberta team of Dana Stromberg and Keltie Tether completed 30 home consultations. The SLWSS honour roll now includes 67 property owners who are committed to managing their homes and landscapes so as to protect Sylvan Lake.

You can tell who they are by their proudly displayed yard signs:

Watershed Steward Sign

The Society has now recruited participants for the program since 2010. To ensure that Nature Alberta could continue to support its assessment team in 2013, the SLWSS contributed $4000 towards the expenses of the project.

See the 2012 Shaw TV video production for more background on the Living by Water/Home Assessment program.

Restricted Development Areas at Sylvan Lake

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development provides useful information on shorelands and regulatory requirements.

These maps show Restricted Development Areas (RDAs) at Sylvan Lake:

Restricted Development Activity Sylvan Lake Index Aerial Map           – Dec 2007 (2 pages)

Restricted Development Activity Sylvan Lake Aerial Map 1           – Dec 2007 (2 pages)
Restricted Development Activity Sylvan Lake Aerial Map 2           – Dec 2007 (2 pages)
Restricted Development Activity Sylvan Lake Aerial Map 3           – Dec 2007 (2 pages)
Restricted Development Activity Sylvan Lake Aerial Map 4           – Dec 2007 (2 pages)

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