PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
Getting to the Root of the Problem: Understanding the Jessie Lake Tree Planting Project
On May 29, 2020, the LICA funded tree planting project took root along the water’s edge of Jessie Lake Trail. The tree planting is part of the larger Jessie Lake Restoration Project in partnership with the Town of Bonnyville, which started in 2016 in response to complaints about the unpleasant rotten egg smell of Jessie Lake.
To identify the source of the smell, LICA supported air and water quality monitoring, which demonstrated an increase in hydrogen sulfide and nutrients (phosphorus) in Jessie Lake. Water runoff entering the lake has high phosphorus levels, which causes increased algal growth and decreased water oxygen levels. The hydrogen sulfide is likely released when large amounts of algae die. Therefore, the goal of restoration efforts is to decrease high nutrient levels from entering the lake, which will in turn help decrease the smell.
One way to help decrease the amount of nutrients entering the lake is to improve the health of the riparian area. The riparian area is the land right next to a waterbody that has soil and vegetation adapted to living in a wet environment. Healthy riparian areas have many important functions including filtering water, and trapping sediment (and attached nutrients) that may enter the lake.
To improve the riparian area along the Jessie Lake trail, 5000 dogwood trees were planted between 55th and 42nd street. Dogwoods are a preferred riparian species because they help filter runoff; stabilize shorelines; protect from erosion; provide shelter and food for water and land animals; and are a small, aesthetically pleasing tree.
Other LICA organized and funded actions supporting the Jessie Lake Restoration Project include: riparian tree planting with various tree species between 42nd street and the causeway in 2018 and the rodeo grounds in June 2020; annual shoreline clean-up and weed pull since 2017; and water quality sampling of Jessie Lake in 2020. LICA continues to use available knowledge and resources to plan additional restoration efforts to improve the health of Jessie Lake.
LICA is a Synergy Group that facilitates all stakeholders’ voices when addressing issues
concerning the environment in our region, the Watershed Planning and Advisory Council
(WPAC) for the Beaver River Watershed, one of eleven WPACs in Alberta, and an Airshed
Zone monitoring the air quality throughout the LICA region.
For more information on actions community members can take to reduce nutrients levels in the lake, please visit lica.ca -> Watershed -> Actions to improve water quality
For more information, please contact
Tricia B. Fleming, Environmental Coordinator