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Province urged to make a decision on Gull Lake pumping

Filtration system designed to keep Prussian carp eggs out of lake awaiting approval

Lacombe County will try to light a fire under provincial officials who oversee a Gull Lake pumping program.

Lake levels have been falling for some time and Gull Lake Watershed Society has been lobbying the province to restart a pumping program that takes water from Blindman River and pumps it into Gull Lake.

The Gull Lake Stabilization Project has been active since the 1970s but was stopped in 2018 when Prussian carp, an invasive species, were discovered in Blindman River. Provincial officials feared the lake could be contaminated if the tiny carp eggs were inadvertently pumped in.

The watershed society, whose members include engineers and biologists, was able to develop a pressurized filtration system that proved successful in stopping any carp eggs from making it into the lake.

However, the government has been slow in responding to the society’s requests to have its system approved.

County manager Tim Timmons said staff did not have the expertise to evaluate the filtration system and urge approval by the province. But it can push to have the filtration system reviewed.

“We’re just urging government to have a look at it and make a decision one way or the other,” said Timmons at Thursday’s council meeting.

Coun. Brenda Knight said the society has been waiting for a decision for a long time.

“I really understand that society’s frustration. They’re not getting a yes or no.”

Council unanimously agreed to have Reeve Barb Shepherd send a letter to Alberta Environment and Protected Areas Minister Sonya Savage and Forestry, Parks and Tourism Minister Todd Loewen, as well as local MLAs, urging timely consideration of the filtration system.

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