Workshop Presents Cloud Lake Research
Posted on: February 18, 2016
Lakehead University graduate student Nathan Wilson
Lakehead University graduate student Nathan Wilson
Lakehead University graduate student Nathan Wilson presents information about phosphorous levels at a February 17th workshop focusing on Cloud Lake, located southwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Research data collected at Cloud Lake over several months was presented at a Lakehead University workshop on February 17th. Cloud Lake is located approximately 30 km. southwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Graduate student Nathan Wilson and under-graduate Kyle Wright, under the direction of Dr. Rob Stewart and Jason Freeburn of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, presented information on Cloud Lake water quality, shoreline health, and algae and fish populations. The research was carried out in an effort to determine why Cloud Lake algae has increased and fish species and populations have undergone substantial change in recent years.

Cloud Lake exhibits rather unique conditions, especially with respect to algae, which is not seen to the same extent in most other area lakes. Data collected identified several types of algae to be present, elevated phosphorous levels and large numbers of bass, now the predominant Cloud Lake fish species. Phosphorous is a major contributor to algae blooms and data collected indicated phosphorous was present at elevated levels both in tributary streams flowing into Cloud Lake and in sediment samples taken from the bottom of the lake. Water outflow from Cloud Lake is limited. The lake’s Cloud River outflow drains to Cloud Bay on Lake Superior, some 9 km. from the lake itself. No determination was made as to the relative influence on the Cloud Lake ecosystem of background, or “natural” sources of phosphorous, as opposed to man-made sources of phosphorous.

The seminar was attended by representatives of Lakehead University, the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority, the Municipality of Neebing, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, Northern Bio-Science and Streamline Consulting. Participants reviewed and provided input on collected data, recommending research be continued to better understand the mechanisms contributing to present day Cloud Lake conditions.

Cloud Lake research was supported through the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Municipality of Neebing, the Stewardship Council, the North Shore Steelhead Association and Lakehead University.

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