Investigation into Pigeon Lake algae issue gains county funding

Pigeon Lake - Stu Salkeld
Pigeon Lake
— image credit: Stu Salkeld

An investigative research project into the cyanobacteria dynamics in Pigeon Lake, headed by the Summer Village of Grandview, is receiving $2,500 from the County of Wetaskiwin.

Coun. Larry McKeever, who made the motion to provide funding for the project, says the one-time donation could come from reserves.

Coun. Garry Dearing voted not to provide the funds.

Grandview mayor Don Davidson attended council’s April 4 general meeting to discuss with council efforts being made to obtain funding from the 12 municipalities around Pigeon Lake.

Davidson informed council the Summer Village of Sundance has already turned down a request for funding.

The project is being conducted by Rolf Vinebrooke, a professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta.

Vinebrooke is working to develop a predictive model and identify the species of cyanobacteria in Pigeon Lake.

The total cost of the project is $25,000, the request being made to each municipality is $2,500.

“There’s something happening at Pigeon Lake that we’re all working very hard to understand,” said Davidson.

“Really, we can’t solve the problem at Pigeon Lake until we know what the problem is,” he added.

Davidson says since the mid 1980s data has shown the temperature of Pigeon Lake has continued to rise. “Algae, unfortunately, likes warmer water.”

He added, while there were algae blooms in the lake prior to 2000, after the turn of the century the blooms seemed to intensify.

Davidson says municipalities should take advantage of the project and Vinebrooke’s involvement, as expertise in cyanobacteria is hard to come by.

“Don is correct. We need to get to the bottom of it. I think $2,500 is something we need to contribute,” said McKeever.

“And this is good for many, many lakes,” he added. “This research will be good for many, many lakes.”


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