Water Quality Monitoring

The Lesser Slave Watershed is undertaking a 5 year water quality monitoring program on the major tributaries of Lesser Slave Lake. This program, recommended in the Lesser Slave Watershed Management Plan, will collect consistent, quality data that will fill major data gaps and inform future land and water management decisions in the watershed. 


Project Goals

The LSWC’s Lesser Slave Watershed Management plan recommends a long-term water monitoring strategy for the watershed. This program will help us achieve the water quality target outlined in the plan:

“Water quality in tributaries to Lesser Slave Lake, and in the Lesser Slave River, should meet provincial water quality guidelines established to protect fish and other aquatic life, as well as meet needs of human use (e.g., water supplies, aesthetics, recreation, waste assimilation).”

Goals for this program include:

  • Collect baseline data for tributaries contributing to Lesser Slave Lake;
  • Evaluate water quality condition by comparing it to available federal and provincial water quality guidelines and objectives for varying uses (e.g., irrigation, contact recreation, aquatic life), and reference conditions;
  • Collect long-term suspended sediments data that can be used 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. Historic and recent studies regarding sediment transport and nutrient loading to Lesser Slave Lake (AMEC 2005; Hutchinson et al. 2015) are limited by the low frequency, density, and inconsistency of water monitoring activity in the watershed.



Annual sampling will begin at the end of April of early may depending on when the ice breaks up. the goal is to complete 10 sampling events each year between April and November at each of the 15 locations.

The LSWC has equipment for 2 field crews to measure temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. These parameters will be measure in the field each time samples are collected along with other field observations like air temperature. A laboratory in Edmonton, AB will provide analytical services.  



 Sample Sites

Water Quality Summary Reports

The 2017 Summary report can be downloaded HERE. 

The 2018 Summary report can be downloaded HERE 






Program Sponsors

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

 $10,000 in support in 2016 

  vermilion-energy.JPG $5,000 in support over 5 years

     TownOfHighPrairie.jpg thank you to our $1,000 one time sponsors


Project Partnership with Swan River First Nation

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. 

Project Partnership with Big Lakes County Agricultural Services board

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. 


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