At Alberta and Environment and Sustainable Resources, we love the opportunity to celebrate our environment. This week is National Water Week and as we reflect we wanted to highlight one of the amazing water-focused jobs we have right here in Alberta, the job of a limnologist.
What is a limnologist?
It’s a question that may not come up at most people’s dinner tables. A limnologist is a person who studies fresh, inland water including lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. The focus of their studies is generally water quality and the movement of water and aquatic life.
Water Quality Technologist Shelley Manchur sampling water from Berlund River during the 2015 Athabasca water quality survey.
Some sample sites are accessible by snowmobile or helicopter only.
The Athabasca River near Hinton
Department limnologist, Jana Tondu, (kneeling) performs water quality testing on the Athabasca River in January 2015
What does a limnologist do?
Monitoring water quality and health is the core work of a limnologist. They provide scientific and technical expertise in water quality management and often work closely with the Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils to help them move toward their water management plan.
Part of being a limnologist is striving to work with the Water for Life strategy which encompasses safe, secure drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems and reliable water quality supplies for a sustainable economy. They also work with approvals which involves reviewing Water Act applications.
How do they work with stakeholders?
The government has five regional limnologists throughout the province. Because water is a complex thing to manage, limnologists work closely with the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency, the Alberta Energy Regulator, hydrologists and groundwater specialists to make sure they have the best possible understanding of one of our province’s most precious resources.
According to one of the department limnologists, Jana Tondu, the best part of her job is, “The satisfaction of being able to protect something that is vital to all life.”
A limnologist is just one of the many people that are working to ensure a healthy, secure and sustainable water supply for Albertans. Please visit the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development website for more information on what government is doing for our water resources.