Water Quality Monitoring Program
2021
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The WLPP/WLPOA, in cooperation with the Lake Partner Program of the Ministry of the Environment and Conservation and Parks, will complete a significant water sampling program in 2021. Water samples will be taken and physical measurements made at nine locations. Total phosphorous, calcium, and chloride will be measured once a month and every month during the spring, summer and fall. Secchi depth and temperature readings will also be taken. These data will provide more evidence of some of the trends observed and reported in our previous Water Quality Monitoring Program Reports.

This year's work will build on the research done since 2014, and will continue to determine the year to year trends in phosphorous concentrations throughout the lake. We will also gain important information on the relative sources of phosphorous including contributions from sediments. Of particular interest is the monitoring of White Lake for changes in chemistry and water clarity resulting from the presence of zebra mussels. The significant effects of zebra mussels were first noted in 2016 and it is expected that changes will continue to occur for the next several years. 

We plan to continue our studies on changes in the amount (volume) of aquatic plants in the lake and to track changes which could be related to human activity, climate change and the presence of zebra mussels. A paper published by L.J. Bond (Lanark District MNR) 44 years ago reported detailed measurements of aquatic plant densities at many locations around the shoreline of White Lake. Our scientists will be using the same methods and techniques as Bond and will return to the same locations to repeat these measurements. This will enable us to quantify any changes which have taken place since 1977. 

Also, we will be taking accurate depth measurements to monitor lake levels throughout the ice-free season. As part of our 'algae-watch' initiative, we will be looking for algal blooms and the presence of significant blue-green algae populations in the lake which could result in high concentrations of toxins in lake water, which is an important public health issue. We are also continuing to observe and measure changes in zebra mussel populations as well as relative populations of phytoplankton.
 
We will continue our loon and cormorant counts throughout the ice-free season so that we can track population levels over time.