Town of Sylvan Lake seeking funding for water research

Lacombe County wants more information before it is willing to climb aboard a $65,000 effort to create a detailed snapshot of the state of the Sylvan Lake watershed.

Lacombe County wants more information before it is willing to climb aboard a $65,000 effort to create a detailed snapshot of the state of the Sylvan Lake watershed.

Several county councillors voiced support for taking a close look at the lake, but they wanted to know how new studies would mesh with similar past work before committing to the municipality’s $7,050 share of the project.

“One of the things that concerns me is how much data is out there?” said Councillor Linda Landmark said at council’s regular meeting on Thursday. “How much is already done and they just have to put the pieces together?”

Landmark was concerned that money could be wasted on repeating lake studies already done.

She also questioned what role Alberta Environment has in measuring lake quality.

The Town of Sylvan Lake is appealing to municipalities around the lake to help fund a $40,000 project to create a State of the Watershed Report to determine the lake’s health, creating an inventory of its features and projecting impacts from future development.

The information would be used later to create a watershed management report that would cost an additional $35,000.

A second initiative would see about $25,000 spent to develop a detailed water quality data collection plan, which would involve taking water samples, measuring nutrient levels and flow rates, and surveying shoreline and creek-side areas. An important part of the study would involve identifying the best ways to reduce human impact on the lake.

The town wants to undertake the studies next year and to share the cost with the seven other municipalities that are part of the Sylvan Lake Management Plan Committee: Lacombe and Red Deer counties, and the summer villages of Norglenwold, Half Moon Bay, Sunbreaker Cove, Birchcliff and Jarvis Bay.

Councillor Keith Stephenson, the county’s representative on the management plan committee, said politically the municipality would be served well by participating in the watershed study.

“I think it will do some good in the future and will (leave) some good records.”

The ongoing efforts to undertake various lake studies were greeted with skepticism by Councillor Rod McDermand.

“It seems like everyone’s got their fingers in; everybody’s requesting money. Where does it stop?”

Council voted to wait until the management plan committee meets again in December to get more information on the proposed studies before deciding on a financial contribution.

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