Update on Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Projects
by Ed Paleczny
Monitoring the many growing pressures on the lake and how they impact lake health is important for us to be able to take actions to sustain a healthy lake ecosystem. Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring (AEM) provides a way to apply standard scientific methods to measure and monitor changes in aquatic species and habitats in our lake to better understand how they interact in a changing ecosystem. As ecosystems are complex and constantly changing, this is an ambitious undertaking. The Stony Lake Heritage Foundation funds various aspects of this research.
We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with Curve Lake First Nation and other Williams
Treaties First Nations members and Elders.
Other partners include Dr. Graham Raby from Trent University (Raby Lab) and Dr. Jake Brownscombe, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who are studying fish movement and habitat use. Dr. Josh Feltham of Fleming College established a turtle tracking project this past spring that will monitor Northern Map Turtle habitat and movements.
As well, over the last four years, we have engaged students from Trent University and Fleming College to monitor the presence and diversity of benthic macro-invertebrates in the lake. (Benthic means "bottom-dwelling” and macro-invertebrates are small aquatic larval stages of insects like dragonflies, stoneflies, snails, worms, crayfish and beetles. Benthic bio-monitoring
provides a good indicator of water quality and ecosystem health.)
Our hope is to engage more community involvement that will be trained to do long-term monitoring data collection. This will provide a way to engage our lake community in meaningful
AEM projects that will help to inform us about impacts to lake health and ways to mitigate such impacts.