Saturday , 24 July 2021

Moose Lake internally loaded with phosphorus, large cause of algae blooms

“It does like make us just one step closer to working towards that nutrient budget.”

Moose Lake’s core sampling results from this year show the lake is internally loaded with phosphorus which helps cause the almost yearly algae blooms on the water surface.

Dr. John Holz, HAB Solutions, broke down the data from this year’s sampling on Tuesday and to the M.D. of Bonnyville council on Wednesday and explained the significant level of phosphorus coming out from the eight test site of the lake.

The samples showed that 2633 kg of phosphorus comes out from a pool of 14020 kg a year.

“That was very interesting,” said Kellie Nichiporik, president of the Moose Lake Watershed Society.

“Seeing how many kilograms of nitrogen are released on average year from the sediment alone. So that is kind of eye-opening,” she said.

Reeve Greg Sawchuk said the results weren’t necessarily good news.

“It wasn’t just in one area, it was throughout the lake. They’ll come back eventually in the future with some sort of measures, but he did recommend going further and studying the external loading as well. But we have an idea of what it would cost even just for trying to handle the internal portion. And it’s very, very expensive,” said Sawchuk on The Morning After.

Alum, a treatment option for an internally loaded lake, would cost millions of dollars and has never been tried on a recreational lake in Canada.

Nichiporik says getting a nutrients budget is the goal of the society next, with a harder look at the outside elements that are drawing into the lake from the watershed.

“Now we have to couple this with the external data and the lakewatch data that we have. That way we can have a really clear picture of where and when phosphorus loading is happening and how it drives the lake biology,” she said.

The Moose Lake Watershed Society will hold its annual general meeting in February and discuss the next steps.

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.