State of the Watershed

State of the WatershedEach of the 11 WPAC’s in Alberta have completed or are working on a State of the Watershed (SOW) Report. The purpose of a State of the Watershed report is to bring together all of the current data and information we have about the watershed and make an assessment of its health. To aid in the development of SOW reports the Government of Alberta published a “Handbook for State of the Watershed Reporting in Alberta” (PDF)

To assess watershed health we use standardized watershed indicators as set out by the Government of Alberta so that all reporting is consistent and standardized. The “Guide to Reporting on Common Indicators Used in State of the Watershed Reports” is a companion document to the Handbook and established a core suite of indicators for assessing watersheds in Alberta.

The LSWC worked with Carson Forestry to complete the State of the Lesser Slave Watershed report in April 2010.

  • Download the State of the Watershed Report HERE
  • Download a State of the Watershed PowerPoint presentation HERE



2015 Technical Update for Lesser Slave Lake

Throughout 2014 and early 2015 the LSWC worked with Hutchinson Environmental Science Ltd. and other partners to complete a technical update for the Lesser Slave Watershed.

The report includes:

  • An aquatic assessment of rivers and the lake, including information on flow and water quality;
  • a Phosphorus budget for Lesser Slave Lake based on different methods, a summary of paleolimnological data collected from two studies describing historical lake quality, including previously analyzed (geochemistry, pigments) and raw (organic contaminant, diatom) data;
  • a BATHUB modeling exercise to predict lake water quality based on the P budget and development and restoration scenarios, prepared by AEP (formerly ESRD) and NSWA;
  • and a summary of fisheries status and human limitations that affect them, prepared by AEP (formerly ESRD).

This report provides stakeholder and governments with important information based on the most current science and data available and has been in the works for several years. The LSWC completed nutrient monitoring on tributaries of Lesser Slave Lake throughout 2012 and 2013. AEP (formerly ESRD) staff collected sediment cores from LSL twice in the past 10 years and had them dated and analyzed. Fisheries information is based on 2012 surveys done by local fisheries biologists. AEP (formerly ESRD) staff and staff from the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance helped set up and calibrate the BATHTUB model for our lake and input the data sets.

In addition to the 170-page technical report Hutchinson has produced a summary document for the public that explains the project and presents the findings to a non technical audience.

Find out what our lake health is like, where it used to be and how it could potentially look in the future.

Download full project report (177p): HERE

Download Project Summary Document (16p): HERE


Additional Watershed Studies and Information

Stream Crossing Inventories in the Swan and Notikewin River Basins of Northwest Alberta: Resolution at the Watershed Scale

By: Tchir, J. P., Hvenegaard, P. J. & Scrimgeour, G. J.
Alberta Conservation Association, 2004

AEP (formerly ESRD)’s Alberta Fish Sustainability Index






The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute also reports on the state of Biodiversity in Alberta. Check out their web page and resources HERE