Saturday , 24 July 2021
Blue-green algae blooms in Moose Lake in 2018.

Clean up Moose Lake Petition Has Over 1100 Signatures and Counting

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An online petition to clean up Moose Lake has over 1100 signatures in two weeks, leading to a response from the Town and Municipal District of Bonnyville.

The petition asks people to sign if they are concerned about the water quality of Moose Lake.

“Sign this petition to show that you have concerns over the water quality and want the Town, MD & Alberta Environment to take action in cleaning it up,” the petition says.

“Let’s save Moose Lake before it becomes a slough. There are funds earmarked for Moose Lake clean-up from both the Town & MD; why hasn’t anything been done?”

Mitch Sylvestre started the petition to motivate the Town and M.D. of Bonnyville to follow-up on their Moose Lake Watershed Management Plan signed in 2006, saying they’ve done nothing since adopting it.

“These lakes age naturally, this lake is on steroids as far as aging,” said Sylvestre.

“I think we can get this up to 8,000-10,000 signatures if we push.”

Moose Lake has yearly algae blooms starting earlier each year, and is now getting fecal matter warnings. The lake is the source of Bonnyville’s water until the waterline is built from Cold Lake.

He says that there are four parts to the cleanup: phosphate removal, septic tank checks of the residents along the lake, removal and gating of the weir, and biologically reducing algae akin to a successful European model.

In response, the Town has talked with him in recent days on some of the ways they could go about a clean-up, and he says they are hoping to talk to the Environment Minister.

“Everyone’s got to be involved. The government, the residents…everyone has got to do everything that’s required to make that go forward. Nobody gets a hall pass,” Sylvestre said.

A prevailing theory for why the lake has declined so quickly is the amount of houses built along the shoreline.

In a joint press release from the Town and M.D. Friday, they said that Moose Lake is naturally high in nutrients, but recognize the concerns of residents, recreational users, agricultural producers and the general public over the health of Moose Lake.

“Due to high water and flooding conditions over the last two years, Moose Lake has seen an increase in nutrient loading, an increase in the presence of microcystin (the toxin produced by blue green algae) and number of blue green algae blooms. A slight increase in phosphorus can create these blooms. Having this knowledge is the first step in helping the health of Moose Lake.

“While a single solution will not solve all of the lake’s issues, the Town and the M.D. are hoping, with efforts from all concerned parties, significant improvements can be made.

“The Town and the M.D. will continue to support local groups like LICA and LARA in their efforts
to make the lake healthier. The municipalities will also work on restoration programming, policies and
enforcement, around the lake to help improve the water quality. Residents and recreational users can
help improve that water quality by becoming engaged and aware of what they can do to help care for
the lake.”

With the range of things Moose Lake provides to the area, Sylvestre hopes everyone can come together to help the lake.

“It’s unique that it’s so close to town, it’s unique that it’s a really good fishing lake, it’s unique that it has so many people living around it, that it’s a perfect recreational lake and also a perfect distance from the city…and this will destroy it. This has to stop before it goes to the next level,” he said.

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/the-town-of-bonnyville-bring-attention-to-the-state-of-moose-lake-motivate-the-restoration-of-the-lake

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.