ECCC 2021 samplemapLocation of ECCC’s 28 monitoring sites on Lake of the Woods, September 2021Environment and Climate Change Canada’s team responsible for sampling water quality on Lake of the Woods was out this September doing a lake-wide survey of 28 sites (see map). Water quality sampling had been paused last year due to Covid restrictions. In addition, they re-initiated their long-term monitoring of the Rainy River inflow to Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River outflow.

At each site, water quality parameters measured included: phosphorous, nitrogen, carbon and their various forms, total and dissolved metals, major ions, Chlorophyll a, Phycocyanin (an algal pigment found in blue-green algae), total suspended solids, algal toxins and taxonomy, secchi depths, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, conductivity and temperature.  

September samples were taken at the surface, at 1m depth and at 2m off the bottom. If the water column was stratified and had an identifiable thermocline, an integrated sample of the epilimnion (surface to thermocline) was taken. 

ECC samplingECCC Lake of the Woods Monitoring Team, in midst of Lake of the Woods algae bloom, Sept 2021. Photo Mike McAulay ECCCGiven the proliferation of algae blooms this past month, an extra bonus is that this sampling has allowed for further calibration of the satellite remote sensing models that use satellite imagery to indicate bloom extent and severity.