Water Quality Monitoring

Download the 2010 Aquality Environmental Tributary Water Quality report HERE

We just completed year 3 of a 5 year water quality monitoring program on the major tributaries of Lesser Slave Lake in October of 2019. This program enables the collection of consistent, high quality data to fill current data gaps and inform future land and water management decisions in the watershed. 

Staff and volunteers go out to sites along the various rivers that feed into Lesser Slave Lake, they measure: temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. These parameters are measured in the field along with other field observations like air temperature. Samples are collected to analyze organic and inorganic compounds, metals, and bacteria, and are sent to s laboratory in Edmonton, AB for analytical services. 

Annual sampling begins in April, or whenever the ice comes off the rivers, and goes until November, or when the rivers freeze. Sampling is flow-rated which means we sample more in the spring (2/month) than in the late summer and fall (1/month).

Project Goals

Goals for this program include:

  • Collect data for rivers flowing into Lesser Slave Lake;
  • Evaluate water quality and compare it to federal and provincial water quality guidelines and objectives;
  • Collect suspended sediments data to identify the sources of suspended sediment and transport mechanisms in the Lesser Slave watershed;
  • Maintain long-term records to examine trends in relationship to land cover and land use activities in the watershed;
  • Collect data that will be useful for refining water quality model calibrations, and calculating sediment load and nutrient budgets.

Water Quality Summary Reports

The 2019 Summary Report can be downloaded HERE 

The 2018 Summary report can be downloaded HERE 

The 2017 Summary report can be downloaded HERE. 


Our data can also be found on the Mackenzie Data Stream!


Project Sponsors


Thank you to Vanderwell's who have made a 5 year, $100,000 commitment of Support to our Water Quality Monitoring Program 


$10,000 in support in 2016


$5,000 in support in 2019




$5,000 in support over 5 years


Thank you to our $1,000 one time sponsors



Project Partners

The LSWC and SRFN are collaborating to collect more detailed water quality information including total and dissolved metals for our three sites on the Swan River. 
Big Lakes county has provided funding for 2019 to conduct fecal coliform source tracking work at sites that have had high fecal counts over 2017 and 2018. This project will identify the species that is the source of  fecal coliforms by analyzing samples  for DNA markers. The results will be published in the 2019 summary report.