Moose Lake will be tested for internal phosphorus loading this summer

The Moose Lake Watershed Society has contracted work to test internal phosphorus loading on the lake which could be the culprit for yearly algae blooms.

Beginning in July, the ten-week testing cycle hopes to bear out data to come up with a phosphorus budget, which would show the highest phosphorus concentration areas in Moose Lake.

MLWS chair Kellie Nichiporik said this will involve taking core samples from the bottom of the lake to understand how much internal phosphorus is contributing to algae blooms.

Then, a flux analysis will show how much phosphorus is released into the water Nichiporik continued.

“Without knowing where the phosphorus is coming from, it makes it hard to take the next steps to counteract the algae blooms,” said Nichiporik.

Funding for the testing comes from the M.D. of Bonnyville who set aside $50,000 in October last year to purchase lake testing equipment.

The MLWS decided to forego purchasing the qPCR machine and others because they did not have sampling protocols in place and thought the data wouldn’t be as pertinent due to the rush.

If purchased, this equipment would be used to determine the human causes of phosphorus loading, and be available for surrounding municipalities to test lakes in their area.

It was suggested by lake residents at the AGM that the algae blooms are caused by residents septic fields, birds, or agriculture, which could be determined by the qPCR machine which tests for DNA.

Algae Control Canada will test various areas of the lake to come up with the phosphorus budget.

Alberta Lake Management Society has begun their yearly testing on Moose Lake, while tributary testing started in April.

At the MLWS annual meeting in February, lake residents and experts dug through the data and a keynote presentation from Dr. John Holz talked about treating a phosphorus loaded lake with alum.

Nichiporik said she understands lake residents are frustrated with the health of the lake and the time it takes to solve these issues.

“I know people wish there was a silver bullet, but in cases like lake watershed management it’s a marathon.”

Moose Lake Watershed Society said they had a successful shoreline clean up.