Why Monitor?

Lesser Slave Lake is vastly important to our region for many reasons, and maintaining lake water quality and fish habitat are important to the LSWC and people in our watershed. There is a limited water quality information available for the Watershed, and this limits our understanding of our lake and the rivers that flow into it. This program establishes a data set that will help us assess the condition of our rivers and make informed watershed and land management decisions.  

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.

LSWC staff sample 16 sites along 10 rivers 10 times between April and October of each year.  Temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen are measured in the field along with field observations.  Samples are collected and sent to an accredited lab and analyzed for: suspended solids, fecal coliform bacteria, total nutrients, dissolved nutrients, metals, dissolved metals and trace ions. 

Map of Tributary Sampling Locations (2022-26)

* Map of previous Tributary Sampling Locations (2017-21) - Click HERE 


Water Quality Summary Reports

After each field season, the LSWC provides the annual data set to Palliser Environmental Services Ltd. and they prepare an annual summary. 

2022 briefing note and data summary can be downloaded HERE 

2021 - 5 Year Water Quality Summary Report can be downloaded HERE 

2020 Summary Report can be downloaded HERE.

2019 Summary Report can be downloaded HERE 

2018 Summary report can be downloaded HERE 

2017 Summary report can be downloaded HERE. 

Our data can also be viewed online on Mackenzie Data Stream!

Podcast Episode - In April, 2021, we were invited by the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association to discuss our Water Quality Monitoring! You can check out the recording for the podcast here


Project Funders

$140,000 in support to date. 

$5,000 in support in 2020
$5,000 in support in 2021
$7,500 in support in 2022


$10,000 in support in 2016


$7,500 in support in 2021

$3,000 in support in 2020
$5,000 in support in 2019



$2,500 in support in 2021

$3,000 in support over 3 years


 $1,000 one time sponsors



Project Partners

The LSWC and SRFN are collaborating to collect additional information at o sites on the Swan River. The total financial contribution is approximately $14,500 to date. 
Big Lakes County provided funding to conduct fecal coliform source tracking work with the University of Alberta in 2019 at sites that showed 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 are in the 2019 Tributary Water Quality Summary Report
AB-Gov_2Color_Pasture_RGB_V.jpg  The LSWC recognizes the Alberta Government for their support, both financial and in kind. 


Past Water Quality reports and resources: 

Water Quality of Lesser Slave Lake and its tributaries, 1991-93 - Government of Alberta