Watershed Stewardship Society continuing its work to protect Sylvan Lake

Efforts are consistently being taken to maintain and improve the overall health of the lake.

Efforts are consistently being taken to maintain and improve the overall health of the lake.

The Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society (SLWSS) works hard to observe the lake to make sure it remains safe for lake users.

The most important thing is the quality of the water, said president of the SLWSS Graeme Strathdee.

He said visitors come to Sylvan Lake and everybody in the watershed area enjoys being there because of the lake.

The Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) is the official organization that is funded to send water samples to a chemistry lab to check the composition plant nutrients and nitrogen and phosphorous chemistry.

People living in the watershed also have an effect on the lake, as Strathdee said chloride has been slowly increasing in the lake over time, and he suspects it may be due to leaking off the land in the winter from the roads being salted.

“Every year the lake gets concentrated because the water evaporates,” Strathdee said. “We’re seeing chloride concentration increasing and it helps us to confirm that people are affecting the lake.”

The Town of Sylvan Lake has been expanding with more people coming into the watershed area; this puts pressure on the lake access as there are land changes, which in the end impact the watershed.

“It’s the relationship between what happens on the land and the condition of the lake,” Strathdee said.

More people would like to access the lake year-round, as in the summer, boats are seen on the lake, and in the winter, ice fishers enjoy fishing.

But with so many people wanting lake access and with land use changes, maintaining the quality of the lake water is not easy.

“There aren’t that many good locations for improving recreational opportunities,” Strathdee said.

The SLWSS will hold an annual general meeting Sept. 19 at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library where they will report on everything they have done to maintain the health of the lake this year. The public is welcome to attend this meeting.