The Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society (SLWSS) is sampling the water in Golf Course Creek (GCC) and Northwest Creek (NWC) to determine the amount of nutrients flowing into the lake. We are measuring both the composition of water in the streams and the flow rates, then calculating the lake loading of phosphorus and nitrogen that are important fertilizers for growth of cyanobacteria in Sylvan Lake.
We collect water quality samples for chemical analysis at the ALS Environmental laboratory in Edmonton in partnership with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. The department provides the services of expert field technicians for training, specialized measurements, and sample collection.
The NW Creek project is co-sponsored by the SLWSS and the member municipalities of the Sylvan Lake Management Committee. The GCC project is funded by a grant received from the Land Stewardship Centre.
On May 15 both projects are now waiting for rain. Most of our winter snow cover sublimed and evaporated before it melted and created runoff in the creeks or infiltrated into the ground. We know that because in Mid-April AESRD’s top-gun tech Mike Bilyk measured GCC flow of just 0.5 cubic metres per second from the large catchment area of about 28 square kilometres. During periods of intense rain, that flow can be up to 100 times greater.
Alberta Environment technicians demonstrate sampling and flow measurement methods at Golf Course Creek
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Both projects will provide an early warning about possible blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that depend on the right combinations of plant nutrients, water temperature and sunlight.
In addition, we have arranged for the Alberta Lake Management Society to collect and analyze water quality samples from the lake itself between June and September this year. Composite samples that are representative of the whole lake are taken at specific points so that the data can be compared through the open water season, and with results from previous years. LakeWatch reports from previous years are available on this SLWSSNews webpage.
To support our water quality and flow measurements, the level of Sylvan Lake and local weather history are monitored through the summer by checking on data posted by Alberta Environment and Alberta Agriculture for the Hespero weather station.
Return to this webpage for updates on our findings during 2014.