Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park - Alberta has three significant lakes within its borders:
All three lakes provide recreational opportunities such as fishing and boating. The lakes also supply water for agricultural purposes.
It is important that the parks lakes be monitored on a regular basis to ensure water quality is maintained. In May, June, July, August, and September samples are taken from the lakes once a month. These samples determine the level of fertility for each lake. Most people believe that a lake that is murky or green with algae is of poor quality; however, in fact, algae is an indicator of high nutrient levles. The level of fertility is assessed by measuring three indicators:
Water samples are obtained at random locations, processed, packaged and sent to the Environmental Monitoring Branch of Alberta Environment & sustainable Resource Development for testing.
As winter progresses and ice cover increases, the level of dissolved oxygen levels in the lakes gradually decreases. In the winter, water samples are gathered to determine the level of dissolved oxygen at various water depths.
Determining dissolved oxygen levels is important because fish die if levels are too low. Winterkill is caused by decomposing aquatic vegetation using up a lake's oxygen.
Each month, tests are conducted on each lake to determine dissolved oxygen. levels. That information is forwarded to fisheries biologists with Natural Resources Canada.