Pine Lake residents Candice Desrochers and her daughter Gianna walk along the public dock at the Taunton Hills day use area near the Leisure Camprgounds site Tuesday. Alberta Health Services public health inspectors posted advisories around the lake Tuesday warning of a blue-green algae bloom in the lake.

Pine Lake residents Candice Desrochers and her daughter Gianna walk along the public dock at the Taunton Hills day use area near the Leisure Camprgounds site Tuesday. Alberta Health Services public health inspectors posted advisories around the lake Tuesday warning of a blue-green algae bloom in the lake.

Algae bloom prompts warning at Pine Lake

News of an algae bloom at Pine Lake is getting a lukewarm response from people who live around its shores.

News of an algae bloom at Pine Lake is getting a lukewarm response from people who live around its shores.

Alberta Health Services issued an advisory on Tuesday warning people that blue-green algae had been found in the lake with resulting potential for exposure to toxins in the water.

The advisory states that people, pets and livestock should not drink or enter the water and people should limit their consumption of fish from the lake, which is located about 40 km southeast of Red Deer.

Boiling water does not eliminate the toxins produced by the algae, says the advisory.

Dr. Feoma Achebe, one of three medical officers of health in the Central Alberta Zone, said Pine Lake is among the Alberta water bodies routinely tested for blue-green algae during the summer.

Tests revealed some algae last week, but it wasn’t until this week that the levels were high enough to warrant the advisory, she said.

Achebe was unable to say whether anyone had become ill or experienced other physical problems, since conditions associated with algae poisoning are not on the list of disease that physicians are required to report.

Consuming or coming into contact with contaminated water can cause a variety of physical affects, including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, sore throat, swollen eyes and swollen lips.

People familiar with the lake don’t think the current algae bloom is anything out of the ordinary.

“It’s been like that for five years,” says area resident Ole Johansen, who refuses to go into the water regardless of warnings and advisories from Alberta Health Services.

Boats docked at Whispering Pines are consistently coated in green slime from the water and there are fewer skiers on the lake every year, said Johansen.

Members of the Pine Lake Restoration Society have done what they can, said Johansen. He believes the health of the lake should fall squarely on the shoulders of Alberta Fish and Wildlife, the department responsible for managing the lake’s populations of pike, perch and walleye.

Fish and Wildlife and the various conservation groups that maintain sites at Pine Lake need to analyze the water and then set out a program to clean it up, said Johansen.

Ed Lawrence, president of the Pine Lake Restoration Society, said conditions on the lake can change from hour to hour, depending on the weather.

Like any other shallow lake in Central Alberta, Pine Lake experiences algae blooms in stagnant areas when the weather is hot and sunny. The blooms go hand in glove with fish kills, such as the losses reported last summer, he said.

Unlike many of the other lakes, including Gull and Sylvan, Pine Lake has a very large drainage area, which contributes to large volumes of nutrients flowing into the lake, said Lawrence.

The same warm, sunny conditions that produce the bloom also drive fish deeper into the water, where there is less oxygen, he said. The pike, perch and pickerel that live in Pine Lake cannot survive in the warm water at the surface any better than in the oxygen-deprived depths, so there will be fish kills when it’s hot and sunny at the surface, he said.

Clarity tests have shown gradual improvement in water conditions in the two decades since the restoration society installed a system that pumps nutrient-rich water from the bottom of the lake and moves it to streams where it is naturally filtered as it flows toward the Red Deer River, said Lawrence.

Jim Wood, mayor of Red Deer County, also commended the Pine Lake Restoration Society for its efforts at improving the health of the lake.

A farmer and longtime area resident, Wood concurred with others who stated that Pine Lake has a history of algae blooms, which they also believe are dependent on weather conditions.

The county helps fund the restoration society and runs programs of its own to help reduce the volume of nutrients entering the lake from farms in the area.

People who visit or use the lake should take heed of any warnings concerning water quality, said Wood.

The advisory will be unwelcome news to recreation facilities and users, but the conditions that prompted it will pass and the lake will once again be safe to use, he said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

The viewing tower at Medicine River Wildife Centre is part of the centre’s walking trail. (Photo from Facebook)
Cross-country skiing coming to Medicine River Wildlife Centre

Recipient of $10,000 from 2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society

The City of Red Deer is reaching out to the community to see if anyone wants to move and maintain the Scout Hut from 1937. The land it sits on is needed for a women’s shelter expansion. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
City of Red Deer is calling for proposals for preserving, moving Scout Hut

The 47th Avenue land it sits on is needed for women’s shelter expansion

Students at Olds College will be learning what’s new in agricultural technology at the facility’s Smart Farm. (Photo contributed)
New agricultural technologies explored by students at Olds College

Olds College is launching a new SmartFarm program to help farmers and… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Zach Smith tips a shot off the post against Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa Saturday night at the Centrium. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels name new assistant coach, open WHL season on Oct. 1

Rebels will play home opener on Oct. 2

Bobby-Jo Stannard, community development superintendent with the City of Red Deer, and Kelly Andres, city community facilitator, say response to the first mural has been extremely positive. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Mural artists making downtown Red Deer vibrant

Preparing for Meet the Street arts and culture festival

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan's decision to travel to Arizona for a holiday has been sharply criticized by many.
Advocate file photo
Jason Stephan: Quebec’s actions undermine interests of Alberta

Prior to serving as a MLA, I structured many commercial partnership agreements.… Continue reading

FILE - Great Britain’s Andrew Matthews, from left to right, Ben Simons, Toby Olubi and Lamin Deen celebrate after their second-place finish in a four-man World Cup Bobsleigh race in Whistler, British Columbia, in this Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, file photo. British Bobsleigh and Skeleton announced Thursday, June 17, 2021, that the four-man team of Deen, Simons, Olubi and Matthews has been upgraded to the gold medal for a race that occurred Nov. 25, 2017 in Whistler, Canada. The Russian crew that beat them that day has since been disqualified. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Britain upgraded to World Cup bobsled gold from 2017 race

Driver of Russian sled was sanctioned for doping violations

Leylah Annie Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot Marie Bouzkova, of the Czech Republic, in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. Leylah Annie Fernandez lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the second round of the Viking Classic Birmingham on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez loses third-set tiebreaker against Ons Jabeur

Jabeur now heads to the quarterfinals at the WTA Tour 250 grass-court event

Feist performs during the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on September 18, 2017. Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist is hitting the road with what’s described as an intimate and “unconventional production” featuring all new music.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan
Leslie Feist to debut new music in ‘unconventional’ and intimate ‘Multitudes’ show

Calgary-raised artist will debut show at Kampnagel Festival in Germany

Letter: Improvements coming to two intersections in Red Deer to help cyclists

A letter in the Advocate on June 9 with complaints about cyclists… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Trudeau tight-lipped on Constitution attack

When exactly did Canada become a Constitution-bashing country? For nearly 30 years,… Continue reading

Gwynne DYer
Opinion: Western countries giving out vaccines to poor nations

At the recent G7 summit, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to distribute… Continue reading

Most Read