The Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) works to improve our understanding of lakes, reservoirs, and watersheds.
In 2018, ALMS developed the LakeKeepers program. Participants in the program are equipped and trained to collect water quality measurements and samples from their waterbody of choice. Participants are provided with a sampling kit which includes a water quality probe, sample bottles, safety gear, and a filtration kit. In the summer, environmental samples and observations are collected from personal watercrafts, while in the winter, participants venture onto the ice for sample collection. Participants filter and preserve their samples, then submit them to ALMS for analysis.
Data from these activities are contributing immense amounts of information to individuals, anglers, stewards, Indigenous communities, limnologists, academics, and fisheries biologists. This data:
- Improves our understanding of stressors on aquatic ecosystems,
- determines which waterbodies may benefit from management,
- describe fish habitat quality in order to support fishery management initiatives,
- bridges the summer and winter seasons to represent a more holistic picture of lake health, and
- reveals the factors influencing under-ice water quality conditions.
Following each season, data is uploaded to the open-source data portal DataStream. Data are then compiled into water quality reports that are made available on the ALMS website and shared through public information sessions.
The LakeKeepers program is successfully engaging Albertans in environmental stewardship, improving our understanding of lakes and reservoirs, supporting Indigenous communities in achieving their water quality monitoring objectives, and bridging the divide between water quality data and fisheries management.