2016 Water Quality Report
By Kevin Moyser
In 2016 we saw a further decline in the dissolved oxygen at the deep water sites in Lake Weslemkoon and Otter Lake. Five years ago we were obtaining dissolved oxygen values as high as 13 milligrams per litre. This year’s dissolved oxygen values topped out in the mid 8 mg per litre. This is of concern because as the dissolved oxygen drops, it puts stress on the trout population.
This year we will be doing the more extensive water quality study at the existing eighteen sites plus four additional sites. This testing involves measuring the nitrogen, phosphorous, coliform and E. coli levels. We also measure chlorophyll levels at the two deep water sites.
The testing of phosphorous and nitrogen is particularly relevant because some of you have been asking about algae blooms. Briefly, algae and the resulting algae bloom is a catch-all term referring to a variety of aquatic organisms that generally rely on photosynthesis for energy and reproduction. These blooms which do occur naturally, become more prevalent as excess nutrients enter the water (entrophication) and the primary culprit is phosphorous however, nitrogen also plays a part in the equation. (Toronto Star [web format] July 24, 2016) (IISD-ela newsletter Headwaters June 2016)
While there are many types of algae that form blooms in lakes, harmful algae blooms can produce toxins that are dangerous to other organisms including humans and aquatic life such as fish. (http://www.lakescientist.com/what-are-harmful-algal-blooms/ January 2017).
The results of this year’s water quality testing will be made available once the testing has been completed.
WATER QUALITY DATA – Dissolved Oxygen and Water Temperature 2014-17