Summer is in full swing, and Albertans are making the most of it. It’s time for fun in the sun, drinks on patios, trips to lakes and pools, and barbeques. Even so, everyday decisions have impacts on the environment and affect the quality of the air we breathe. We all share responsibility for clean air and ensuring healthy communities and ecosystems. Luckily, there are many things you can do to move with the air in mind this summer, whether out on a road trip or enjoying a staycation!
Move yourself using human-powered transportation.
Move smart using fuel efficient practices when driving.
Whenever the air is hazy, or the smell of engine exhaust or smoke from a forest fire lingers, many Albertans wonder what effects poor air quality is having on their health.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a tool that helps inform people about the present quality of outdoor air, and helps them decide how to manage their outdoor activities so they are not injured by air pollution.
From its rugged and remote upper reaches to its meandering path to join the South Saskatchewan River, the Oldman River watershed is known for its stunning natural beauty.
In the alpine tundra and old-growth spruce and fir forests of the Beehive Natural Area, three creeks (Hidden, Dutch and Racehorse creeks) converge at Three Rivers Gap to form the Oldman River. The river runs from southwest to northeast, with a dip south across the border into Glacier National Park.
Numerous campgrounds and parks along the river’s route provide access for fishing, rafting, canoeing, nature watching and… rock skipping.
How many fish can be sustainably harvested from an Alberta lake? To answer that question, you need a basic understanding of biological economics. Let’s start by asking some straightforward questions:
- How many fish are in a lake?
- How many fish do you want to be there?
- What is the annual interest rate (the surplus population growth rate)?
- How necessary or important is reinvestment of fish back to the population?
In the summer months it is not unusual to notice that the sky is a little hazier and the smell of smoke lingers in the air. Forest fires are a common occurrence during the Western Canadian summer and degrade air quality throughout our province. Smoke and ash from 2016’s Fort McMurray fire reached thousands of kilometres away – even as far as the U.K. and Spain.
While a devastating fire can make the far-reaching impact of pollution obvious, consistent emissions from our homes, cars, and industry regularly affect air quality here at home. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive system in place to monitor and address these emissions so air quality is maintained at an acceptable standard.
For more than a century, Albertans have enjoyed boating, sailing, fishing, hiking and bird watching on and around Lake Newell. But until 1914, there was no lake there.
Lake Newell is actually a reservoir created after Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) built the Bassano Dam as part of the ‘Eastern Irrigation’ system designed to entice settlers to the naturally semi-arid area.
The dam was so successful that it was raised in 1934, and today Lake Newell is one of Alberta’s largest reservoirs. The the lake’s surface area fluctuates, but is usually about 6.5 kilometres wide and 14 kilometres long. At its deepest point, it’s about 20 metres deep.
Figure 1 – Until 1914, this beautiful Alberta lake didn’t exist.
Prospector’s Point is a great lookout at Imrie Park
Many Albertans may be surprised to learn that Imrie Park is, technically speaking, not a provincial park.
Located a half-hour drive northwest of Edmonton, it’s a beautiful natural area with camping opportunities, a picnic area, groomed trails and places to observe wildlife. Most people visiting Imrie Park will not notice that it’s different than other provincial parks.
So, if Imrie Park looks like a provincial park, operates like a provincial park, and is even called a park, why isn’t it one? Continue reading
Wolves call the boreal forest around Wolf Lake home. The name and the surrounding area are evocative of the unspoiled nature, mature forest and striking scenery that visitors will find there.
The lake is popular for its simple, quiet and well-maintained campground, as well as other popular activities like berry picking, boating, swimming and water sports. The lake is slightly off the beaten path, and the only development on its shoreline is the campground and access road that were built in 1963. Continue reading
Anglers in Alberta experience world-class fishing today, but this was not always the case.
Starting as early as the 1970s, Alberta’s sport fisheries declined to a shocking degree. Native trout like cutthroat trout and bull trout were rare catches in mountain streams. Lakes once famous for walleye and pike fishing were reduced to shadows of former quality. By the 1980s and 1990s, Alberta walleye fisheries were among the worst in North America; surveys at many lakes reporting 80 per cent of anglers catching nothing during a fishing trip. Angler numbers declined and with them went millions of dollars in lost economic activity. Continue reading
The management of fisheries in Alberta is dynamic and challenging. Especially when considering that Alberta has experienced robust economic and population growth and has only 800 native sport fish-bearing lakes and about 300 waters stocked with non-native trout. In comparison, other provinces such as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have tens, or even hundreds of thousands of fish-bearing lakes.
In addition to meeting the rights of Indigenous peoples, Alberta’s fisheries are also relied upon to provide benefits to more than 300,000 anglers. Fisheries management in Alberta has had to evolve and improve to meet the challenges. Continue reading