Release Date: July 11, 2006
Media Contact: Jim Duggleby, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5439
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
Researchers seek information on Qu’Appelle system ice-up
Two University of Regina biologists are looking for information that might help predict when and how severely algae will bloom in Qu’Appelle Valley lakes. Peter Leavitt and Alain Patoine ask that anyone who has kept long-term records of lake freezing and thawing contact the Biology Department at University of Regina.

“We are particularly interested in the period from 1990 to present, as well as any longer-term records,” says Patoine. “Records from any Qu’Appelle Lake are appreciated, although we are particularly interested in information from Diefenbaker Lake, Last Mountain Lake (also known as Long Lake), Wascana Lake, Pasqua Lake, Katepwa Lake, and Crooked Lake.

Patoine adds that the limnology (study of lakes) laboratory at the University of Regina has been monitoring lakes of the Qu'Appelle River since 1994. Researchers are trying to understand what determines water quality in the Qu'Appelle Valley, and how the lakes have changed over the years in response to climate change. For example, recent research shows that water quality decreases from the headwater at Lake Diefenbaker to downstream sites, with intense blooms of potentially toxic algae especially common in easterly lakes. Research also indicates conditions can change markedly from year to year for reasons that are not yet well understood.

Understanding the causes of this year-to-year variability in water quality will help predict the timing and severity of algal blooms during the upcoming summer. In particular, preliminary indications suggest that information about the duration of ice cover may be important.

Unfortunately, information about the dates of lake freeze-up and melting are not recorded for most lakes. If you or somebody you know has been keeping a record of either break-up or freeze-up dates, for any of the lakes, for any period of time, please contact Patoine at (306)337-2546, by fax at (306)337-2410, or at