Living Lakes Canada supported the creation of the Lac La Biche Region Watershed Stewardship Society (now known as Healthy Waters Lac La Biche) , a group of community stakeholders committed to implementing the monitoring, outreach and stewardship recommendations of the 2009 Lac La Biche Watershed Management Plan.
In partnership with Lac La Biche County, the Athabasca Watershed Council and the Lac La Biche Region Watershed Stewardship Society, Living Lakes Canada led the Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping project for Lac La Biche, supporting recommendations identified under water quality, water quantity, riparian areas and wetlands, and fisheries, waterfowl and wildlife.
The Lac La Biche Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping Project engaged the community to better understand the health of the lake through active stewardship activities. Land use, riparian habitat changes, and existing sensitive fish and wildlife habitats were identified through the collection of sound scientific data, and provided an opportunity to improve land use and lake management decisions through the creation of Shoreline Management Guidelines that better protect, stabilize and enhance important fish and wildlife habitats and the water they depend on.
Lac La Biche is the seventh largest lake in Alberta, with importance to the local economy and culture. In recent years, Lac La Biche has experienced declines in water quality and fish populations, leading to widespread blue-green algal blooms and fishery closures. The Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping (SHIM) project for Lac La Biche was initiated in 2016 to respond to community concerns over the health of the lake. This project characterizes the physical and biological features of the lake’s foreshore so that sensitive areas can be identified and subsequently protected during shoreline development. While this method has been applied to several lakes in British Columbia, and successfully incorporated into land use planning there, the Lac La Biche SHIM project is the first example of its use elsewhere in Canada.
About Healthy Waters Lac La Biche
Governed by an elected seven-member Board of Directors, the Lac La Biche Region Watershed Stewardship Society continues to work on grassroots stewardship activities including public awareness and education; the installation of updated signage at public access points regarding the lake’s Provincial Waterfowl Sanctuary and Important Bird Area status, and the importance of the riparian zone to watershed health.
This project was made possible by the support of Alberta EcoTrust, Environment Canada EcoAction, Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Land Stewardship Centre, Alberta Conservation Association, and Lac La Biche County.