Water Quality Monitoring

Why Monitor?

Lesser Slave Lake is vastly important to our region for many reasons, and maintain lake water quality and fish habitat are important to the LSWC and people in our watershed. There is a limited amount of water quality information available for the Lesser Slave Watershed, and this limits our understanding of our lake and the rivers that flow into it. This program establishes a 5 year data set that will help us assess the condition of our rivers and make informed watershed and land management decisions.  

LSWC staff sample 16 sites along 5 rivers 10 times between April and October of each year. In the winter of 2021, we sampled 2 sites on Lesser Slave Lake 3 times: January-March. Temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen are measured in the field along with other field observations.  Samples are collected and sent to an accredited lab in Edmonton and analyzed for: suspended solids, fecal coliform bacteria, total Nutrients, dissolved nutrients, metals, dissolved metals and trace ions. 

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.

Map of Tributary Sampling Locations

Water Monitoring Quality with the LSWC!

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! And be sure to check out our YouTube Channel, and visit out social media accounts to stay up to date with our work! 

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. After 5 years, the LSWC will have a more comprehensive water quality report prepared. 

The 2020 Summary Report can be downloaded HERE.

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 viewed online on Mackenzie Data Stream!

Project Funders


Thank you to Vanderwell Contractors Ltd. who have made a 5 year, $100,000 commitment of Support through the FRIP program


$10,000 in support in 2016


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


$5,000 in support in 2020




$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 our 3 sites on the Swan River. The total financial contribution is approximately $10,500 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