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Eutrophication in Lake St. Francis

A study by Munawar and Fitzpatrick (2006) to assess phytoplankton and zooplankton populations concluded that the AOC had showed signs of improvement but that indications of eutrophication remained. Munawar and Fitzpatrick (2006) also observed the presence of filamentous algae in the St. Lawrence River thought to be transported from tributaries, and recommended further work to establish the incidence of these algae. In addition, the RAP Water Quality Working Group seeks to establish whether impacts (presence of undesirable algae) from tributary inputs can be observed.

Currently, assessments of plantonic and attached algae are being carried out four times (June – Sept) using two coordinated approaches.  The first approach is to collect samples of attached algae in nearshore areas of the St Lawrence River near tributary inputs using techniques recommended by Dr. Chantal Vis (Parks Canada, an expert in attached algae assessments). Microscopic screening for the presence/absence of undesirable algae is being done.  Discrete water samples are being collected at these site for analysis of chl a, nutrients and for assessment of planktonic algae.  These studies will be led by Dr. Jerome Marty (River Institute), an aquatic ecologist who specializes in lower trophic level assessments.

The second approach is being led by Dr. Michael Twiss of the Great Rivers Centre at Clarkson University.  Flow through fluorometric equipment is being deployed during ship transects to measure levels, taxa and physiological condition of plantonic algae in the study area.   This state of the art approach will provide synoptic comparisons of phytoplankton conditions in nearshore (minimum depth 2 m) and open water areas of the AOC.  The surveys are being conducted over a consecutive two-day period in late June 2008, mid-August 2008 and early October 2008.

For additional information, please contact Chris Critoph, Manager of Environmental Services.  chris.critoph@rrca.on.ca.  

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Raisin Region Conservation Authority
18045 County Road #2, P.O. Box 429, Cornwall, ON, K6H 5T2
Tel. 613-938-3611   Fax. 613-938-3221