2015 CSCE Annual Conference Regina - Building on our Growth Opportunities

2015 CSCE Annual Conference Regina - Building on our Growth Opportunities Conference

Development of Alberta Lake Level Index: A Simple Approach

Dr. Zahidul Islam, Alberta Environment and Parks (Presenter)
Mr. Michael Seneka, Alberta Environment and Parks

We have developed a simple method of lake level index for 33 lakes across Alberta. Water level throughout the year is compared to historical patterns in recorded data. It is then ranked based on five possible categories, ranging from the highest classification of "much above normal" to the lowest, "much below normal." A mid-range classification is considered "normal". The indicator is based on the assumption that a lake is in its normal range if the lake level falls between the historical upper and lower quartiles. Based on the indicator, in 2007, most were normal-to-much above normal (28 out of 33) after which there was a general declining trend through to 2010. In 2013, levels for 24 lakes are reported, and 19 of them are in the normal-to-much above normal categories and 5 in the below normal categories. This indicator is intended to portray natural conditions and contribute to the general knowledge of water in Alberta. It informs context and does not necessarily require specific management actions be taken on a regular basis. However, the indicator can increase understanding of other water issues such as water quality, fisheries, and recreation. This information can help guide other lake or watershed management decisions.