Stewardship and Education
The quality of water in our lakes dramatically impact those who live on or near them. Both Lac Ste Anne and Lake Isle have been plagued with Cyanobacteria (Blue-green algae) which is a health risk to people and animals around the lake. It causes unpleasant odours and lowers property values. It affects us all.
What Is Happening To Our Lakes?
The poor water quality that occurs in many prairie and parkland area lakes usually results from excessive quantities of available nutrients in the water. Aquatic plants, including Blue-green algae, need the same kind of nutrients that are supplied for farm crops or lawns. Phosphorus rather than nitrogen is often in shortest supply for plants that live in the lakes.
This means that the algae that turn the water green in the summer can grow only in proportion to the amount of the phosphorus available. When the amount of phosphorus dissolved in the water is low, the water may not turn green at all. But in many Alberta lakes there is enough phosphorus to allow considerable growth of algae.
Sources of phosphorus to our lakes include:
1) streams and small ditches that run through cottage subdivisions, agricultural land, and areas of natural vegetation;
2) rain, snow and dust that fall directly onto the lake;
3) effluent from faulty or poorly placed sewage systems;
4) ponds or lakes upstream; and
5) the mud or sediment at the bottom of the lake. The bottom sediments, in particular, are known to be a significant source of phosphorus to shallow Alberta lakes during the summer months.