The Sylvan Lake Management Plan Committee is in the second phase of the Cumulative Effects Management System (CEMS) Plan, which focuses on providing actions that are focused specifically on water quality, according to Lacombe County environmentalist Blayne West.
She said in the first phase there were a number of issues identified which fall under three main categories — recreational issues, land use and biodiversity and planning.
Eight municipalities have been involved in this committee, including Lacombe County, Red Deer County, the Town of Sylvan Lake and the summer villages of Norglenwold, Half Moon Bay, Sunbreaker Cove, Birchcliff and Jarvis Bay.
The municipalities jointly chose to focus on the lake’s water quality in the next one or two years, said West.
“Together as a group we feel we will have a larger, more concentrated impact,” West said. “If there was no one managing any of the impact on the lake, like anywhere else, it would probably end in over population and negative impact on land use and water quality.”
An executive draft summary states how levels of nitrogen and phosphorous are hard to detect in lake water samples.
“There is a lack of information from the data that we have collected from the water samples so far which does not allow for a conclusive finding,” West said. “Additional water quality sampling and other data sources must be investigated.”
The Sylvan Lake watershed area, which includes the land around the lake and the lake itself, is over 100 square kilometres. Within the watershed area, rainfall, hail or snow will flow down hill through the land areas and end up in the lake.
“There are many sources of chemicals in the watershed,” West said. “These can be from chemicals added to gardens or lawns used in residential homes or acreages. They may also come from fertilizers added to the golf course or agricultural lands.”
West said the main reason for the plan is to keep the committee on a specific strategy for managing the watershed and the lake.
“The watershed as well as the lake needs to be managed so that land uses such as development, agriculture and recreation are all in balance with the needs of the natural green space,” West said.
The total spent on the second phase of this plan is $42,840.16, with a total budget of $50,000.
The Sylvan Lake Management Plan Committee hopes to have the second phase of the plan approved by June 2015.