Lake science and legislation

Federal and provincial legislation is based on a solid understanding of lake science.

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Federal and provincial legislation is in place to manage and conserve our natural resources, including lakes. By following these rules and guidelines, we not only ensure that we can all enjoy our lakes today, but that future generations can also benefit from all they have to offer. It is everyone's responsibility to be aware of the regulations. Before starting any project that may alter the shoreline of a water body, you must have written authorization from all applicable regulators and a copy must be present at the work site.

For more information, see: Lake Legislation in Alberta.


Lake monitoring in Alberta has shown that most lakes in central Alberta tend to be shallow, turbid, warm, alkaline, and capable of supporting a variety of aquatic plants and animals. These lakes also tend to be classified as 'productive', meaning they have naturally high levels of nutrients, namely nitrogen and phosphorus. While productive lakes can be good for things like fish productivity, very high levels of nutrients can negatively affect aquatic health and can cause harmful algal blooms that reduce recreational opportunities at lakes.

Lake levels as a measure of water quantity are also routinely measured by scientists who monitor lakes in Alberta. Findings indicate that water levels have historically varied considerably due to fluctuations in precipitation and evaporation. Lakes in central Alberta are generally experiencing stable or decreasing water levels, but there has been no trend in terms of decreasing water quality since current monitoring programs started.

For more information, see: Understanding Lake Science.