West-Central Forage Association

Chip Lake Stewardship Project

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Chip Lake Stewardship Project (2012)

West-Central Forage Association and Yellowhead County, as partners in the Stewardship Alliance for Conservation Agriculture (SACA), secured funding with the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada to initiate the Chip Lake Stewardship Project in 2012. The project aimed to address concerns regarding the environmental condition of Chip Lake, the riparian area around the lake, and it's adjacent landholdings.

The Chip Lake Stewardship Project had three main goals:

  • Carry out riparian health assessments around Chip Lake to measure lake health and develop physical benchmarks by which to design future project activities and measure overall impact;
  • Conduct water quality sampling and tests within Chip Lake, and at the major tributaries and outlets, to establish benchmarks and plan future activities;
  • Initiate the formation of, and maintain support of, a group of stakeholders around Chip Lake to create awareness and gain feedback in regards to the lake and ecosystem health and beneficial management practices, to maintain or improve the environmental health of Chip Lake.

Water sampling was conducted at four sites throughout the summer of 2012 with the assistance of the Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS), as part of their Lakewatch Program. 

Several community events were held to gather feedback and engage the community in the project with the intent to have the community work to continually improve/maintain lake health after SACA's involvement ended. 

Riparian health assessments were conducted around Chip Lake and down the Lobstick River (east of the Chip Lake) on ten sites. Six polygons were on the northwest and northern shorelines of Chip Lake and four polygons were on the Lobstick River. The sites were assessed for their vegetative characteristics (including canopy cover, invasive and disturbance increaser vegetation, tree and shrub establishment/regeneration, browse utilization, woody vegetation removal, human alterations to vegetation), and, physical characteristics (including the percentage of human cause alteration, severity of alteration, human cause bare ground and degree of artificial water level changes). In general, based solely on the sites assessed, the health of Chip Lake and the Lobstick’s riparian areas seem to be in relatively good health. 
To full riparian health and water reports can be downloaded below.