Each spring, LeVerne Ellsworth heads up stream sampling of tributaries. Assisting with the sampling are Kaley Segboer, of , and Al Frickey, a WLWLSA volunteer. This program is run under the auspices of Alberta Environment and provide LeVerne with training and equipment.
Eight locations of sampling occurred in April, 2011 at:
1. Range Road 275, north of Twp Rd 480
2. Near Wizard Heights subdivision
3. Twp Rd.480 – 1.5 km west of RR 272
4. Twp Rd 480 – 0.2 km west of RR 271 (canal)
5. Downstream farm – RR 271 – 0.8 km south of Twp Rd 480
6. Upstream farm – 1.0 km south of Twp Rd 480
7. Conjuring Creek weir
8. Wizard Ridge Estates drainage
Samples are collected for a variety of physical, biological and chemical parameters, primarily focusing on nutrient related indicators.
Note: Samples can only be collected where flow rates provide
sufficient flowing water.
pH and Conductivity
Levels were somewhat lower than 2010 which was typically more reflective of baseflow conditions. pH and conductivity were within the range typically observed elsewhere in the province.
Both fecal coliform bacteria and e. Coli samples were collected. Both are indicators of fecal contamination from warm blooded animals including wildlife, livestock, pets and hu-mans. 2007 samples were significantly higher bacteria counts in location 4, 5, and 6 than in 2010, 2011. Overall, bacteria counts at all locations sampled in 2011 were similar and generally well below observed values elsewhere in the province.
Nutrients – Nitrogen
Nitrogen compounds contribute to nuisance growth of algae and macrophytes (aquatic plants) when present in ex-cessive amounts. Ammonia can be directly toxic to aquatic organisms at high concentrations. Ammonia and
nitrate+nitrite were generally higher in 2011, while total Kjeldahl nitrogen was similar to previous years. The Conjuring Creek site was lower for all nitrogen parameters, indicating that is attenuating some of the incoming nitrogen, before discharging downstream.
Nutrients – Phosphorus
Phosphorus is generally the limiting nutrient for growth of algae and macrophytes in aquatic ecosystems and is often associated with eutrophication (increase of green biomass ) of rivers and lakes. Both total and dissolved phosphorus were high, exceeding the total phosphorus guideline of 0.05 mg/L for protection of aquatic life. This reading may reflect differences in seasonality (sampling during spring freshet vs. baseflow).
In conclusion, water quality in tributaries draining into were generally similar to concentrations observed elsewhere in the province. Overall, chemical and biological parameters indicate an impact from human disturbance in the watershed. As is the eventual end point for these tributaries, loadings from the tributaries may have a potential effect on aquatic ecosystem health within the lake. The fact that both nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were lower in Conjuring Creek, the overflow for Wizard Lake, indicates that these nutrients may be stored in the lake contributing to additional algal and macrophyte growth during the open water period.
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