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LOON LAKE WATER TESTING This is the Second of Three

LOON LAKE WATER TESTING This is the Second of Three

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Published by dudmanlake

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: dudmanlake on Oct 04, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/07/2009

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LOON LAKE WATER TESTINGThis is the second of three articles on the sampling, testing and monitoring of Loon Lake water. The first article addressed why we sample, test, and monitor ourlake water.The second and third articles will describe the different types testing.There are basically two types of testing. The first type deals with the variouschemical and biological characteristics of the lake. The second type deals directlywith pollution caused by coliform organisms and associated pathogens related tohuman and animal populations.The first testing type operates independently of our lake association and the workis performed by a volunteer working for the Ontario Ministry of the Environmentand for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. The results of the testingare made available both online and through maintained records.The second type is performed by volunteers working directly for the lakeassociation and they are members of what is known as the “Water Committee”.The results of their testing are made available through annual newsletters, online,and through maintained records.Individuals reading and interpreting the test results are encouraged to learn andunderstand the meaning of the results on their own. It is the policy of the peopledoing the work on the lake that they will not give opinions or advice on theresults of the testing.This article will address the first type , that of testing for the various chemical andbiological characteristics of the lake.It is important to remember that any changes in the lake chemistry and biologywill affect not only the fisheries within the lake but our enjoyment of the lake aswell as our real estate investments.Within the first testing type are two subcatagories.1.Invasive Species Testing2.Water Clarity Testing
 
Invasive Species Testing involves collecting samples of lake water and submittingthem for laboratory analysis to determine whether or not our lake has beeninvaded by
 zebra mussels
or the
spiny water flea
. To learn more about each of these species, go to the following website:http://www.invadingspecies.com/Invaders.cfm?SID=2Invasive Species Testing is very interesting. A kit is provided free-of-charge bythe Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters [OFAH] and sent by courier to thetester. The kit comes in a plastic box with wheels. It contains a large sampling netmade from ultra fine woven material; a cod-bottle [sample collecting deviceattached to the net]; a heavy rope for dragging the net at a specific depth;notebook; instruction booklet; throw away camera; sample bottles; and athermometer. The tester must purchase about one liter of 99% pure isopropolalcohol which is used to preserve specimens.Three samples are taken on the lake, all at different locations. To specify theexact locations where the samples are taken, a GPS unit is used. Each year, thesamples are taken in front of the government landing, west of Snake Island, andbetween Gull Islands and the highway. The sample taken near the governmentlanding is very important for it is at this location where the probability of introduction of the invasive species is the greatest.To do the actual collection for samples, the kit is thoroughly cleaned beforehand,dried, and assembled. It is then taken onto the lake where the net is eitherdragged behind the boat for a fixed distance or lowered vertically into the water aspecific distance and then retrieved. Once the net is back in the boat, the codbottle is opened and the sample of water collected is poured into a collectionbottle. The alcohol is then added to the bottle to preserve any microscopicsamples collected. The kit is then washed thoroughly, dried, and repackaged andreturned to the OFAH. A few weeks later, the results from the laboratory work aresent to the collector.While not actually a water test, there is another aspect of the Invasive SpeciesAwareness Program that is done on Loon Lake, by the same volunteer. And thatinvolves constantly being on the watch for any invasive species such as PurpleLoosestrife. This plant was found in 2008 growing adjacent to the stream thatfeeds into Loon Lake from Wenona lake. The plant was removed from it'sstreamside environment and destroyed. Similarly, a healthy plant was discoveredin 2009 growing along the shores of the Burnt River leaving Loon Lake. That plantwas also removed and destroyed. In both instances, the OFAH was notified sinceit is the body doing the monitoring for the Ministry of Natural Resources.
 
While the words “Water Clarity Testing” describes exactly what the testing does,there is actually a lot of science behind the words. The visual “clarity” of a lakehas a lot to do with indicating the overall health of a lake. And overall healthmeans the ability of a lake to sustain microorganism growth which in turnsupports complex food chains in a lake. It also means a lot more. For humans,the cloudiness of the water; the taste of the water; the smell of the water; thefeel of the bottom of the lake on the feet; the number of weeds in the lake; andthe presence of any slime or algae blooms are all very important factors thataffect not only the enjoyment of the lake but the real estate values of cottagesand homes on the lake.Loon Lake is very lucky to have had a series of stewards who have monitored thelake over the years. And we are very lucky to have the resources of the OntarioMinistry of the Environment [OMOE], with it's “Lake Partner Program” to help us.There is a wealth of information kept about the lake water conditions over theyears. And this data is periodically inspected to watch for trend changes. TheOntario Ministry of Natural Resources [OMNR] also has records about Loon Lakefrom which we have periodically referenced data. If changes are detected, anyone of the OMOE, the OMNR, or in fact the federal Department of Fisheries andOceans [DFO] can quickly be contacted for assistance or advice.The “Water Quality Testing” project consists of two activities.
The first “Water Quality Testing” activity is the gathering of water samples.
In the fall of each year, the OMOE sends out a kit that contains a collection bottle,a funnel with a microorganism filter, a pouring beaker, and test tubes. Thisequipment is used to collect samples of lake water. Early in the following spring, just after “ice-out” and certainly well before the Victoria Day weekend, twosamples of water are collected from the deepest part of Loon Lake that is mostremote from any streams that flow into the lake.The samples of water are used to test for phosphate levels in the lake.Phosphates are very important for they are nutrients that can cause rapid anddense growth of algae and weeds. Many Southern Ontario lakes and rivers havesuffered from nutrient overdosing from fertilizers used in farming activities.Phosphate can occur in a lake from either natural sources or from humanactivities. From a natural perspective, heavy consistent periods of rain can causean increase in groundwater flow that it turn will introduce excess phosphates intoa lake. From a human perspective, use of lawn fertilizers, non friendly soaps anddetergents, or septic system problems can increase phosphate concentrations in alake.

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