Here is a short overview of some of the projects that the LSWC and our partners have completed within the watershed since 2007.
Water Quality Monitoring
Monitoring the quality of the water in the basin is very important as the drinking water for the towns and municipalities comes from within the watershed. Each year the LSWC collects samples and has them analyzed for organic and inorganic compounds, metals and bacteria. The purpose of this project is to collect data from the tributaries across the basin at three different times of the year; spring, fall and a summer storm event. Water quality information is important to the LSWC and to people living in our watershed. Having current data allows us and local governments to make better assessments on the health of our Lake and rivers and make informed land management decisions.
Download the Aquality Environmental Tributary Water Quality report HERE
Paleolimnology of Lesser Slave Lake
Core samples of lake bottom sediment contain a historic record of lake productivity in the form of diatoms. The LSWC and Alberta Environment undertook a project to have core samples from the east and west basins taken in 2006 analyzed. The concentrations of various elements and algal pigments can tell us how much the lake chemistry has changed over time.
Here is a presentation by Roderick Hazewinkle, Alberta Environment limnologist that discusses the 2006 core sample results.
In January 2012, second core samples were extracted from the East and West basins of Lesser Slave Lake by Alberta Environment field staff. In fall 2013, the LSWC and Alberta Environment worked together to have these cores analyzed at the University of Alberta. Stay tuned for a report with the most current paleolimnological data for Lesser Slave Lake.
Aerial Riparian Assessments
The Lesser Slave Watershed covers a large area of land, some of which is not accessible to people very easily. The LSWC partnered with the Alberta Conservation Association and worked with contractor George Walker to fly and video record the Shoreline of Lesser Slave Lake, the South Heart River and part of the West Prairie River, as well as the Swan river and its two main tributaries, the Moosehorn and the Inverness Rivers.
The video capture was done by helicopter during the summer. The videos were then analyzed and the riparian area or shoreline of the water body was assessed and scored. The health score that the riparian area receives is based on a number of factors including vegetation cover, land use and others. ACA and Cow’s and Fish have done extensive work in Riparian Health in Alberta. The final products included a video with a live commentary during flight,a series of maps showing the health score in green, yellow or red, and a summary report, written by ACA staff. These projects are a great example of two organizations with similar goals and objectives working together to gather key watershed data. *videos can be viewed at the LSWC office.
Download Reports here:
- Swan River Aerial Assessment Final Report(2011)
- South Heart & West Prairie River Final Report (2009)
- Lesser Slave Lake Shoreline – final report (2007)
Lesser Slave River Hydraulic Surveying and 2D modeling
River 2D modeling was developed at the University of Alberta to examine two dimensional flows in rivers. This type of modeling can tell us how much water needs to be flowing in the rivers to protect fish habitat and meet the needs of all of the downstream water license holders. The LSWC is modeling sections of the Lesser Slave River as recommended by a Instream Flow Needs scoping study done by Golder and Associates. This data will be used to determine the Instream Flow Needs value for the Lesser Slave River as well as critical fish habitat areas. Protecting the aquatic environment as well as providing flows for downstream users are high priorities. Segments 1, 2 and 3 of the river have been surveyed. The major deliverable is a data set that shows habitat types and locations and this information is housed in the Government of Alberta database for use by Fish and Wildlife, GIS staff and the LSWC in future projects.
Click the below links to access a PDF version of the final survey reports:
- Segment 1 ice and open water report
- Segment 2 open water report
- Segment 2 ice covered report
- Segment 3 open and ice covered report
Swan River Channel surveys
In the fall of 2008, sections of the Swan River were surveyed and the data will be compared to previous surveys form the 1980’s. The goal of this project is to determine whether or not the banks of the river have started to stabilize after regulatory river cutoffs were made to control flooding of agricultural land. To learn more about the findings of this work download this summary report.
A selected segment of the East Prairie River was also surveyed as an addition to the Swan River work. The purpose was to compare the channel bed survey to those done at the same location in 1978 to see if the stream bed is stable or incising.
Hydraulic and Hydrologic Watershed Model
The LSWC hired consultants form Worley Parsons Komex to develop an integrated hydrologic-hydraulic watershed model. The watershed model will ultimately be used to establish the historical hydrologic and hydraulic responses of the entire basin under natural and existing regulated conditions, and to assess various lake water management scenarios based on different configurations of the weir structure and land use changes. The model is currently housed within the Government of Alberta computer systems and ESRD technical staff are able to use the model as requested or needed.
If you are interested in learning more about this model and how it works please download this powerpoint presentation about the MIKE SHE and MIKE 11 model.
Buffalo Bay Bathymetry
Concern that sediment transport from the tributary streams is filling this area prompted the LSWC to survey the area and compare results to a 1983 survey to determine if and how much sedimentation is impacting this area of the watershed. Stay tuned, this report will be posted on our website soon!