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Alix Lake dredging expected to begin in spring

Posted on March 20, 2024

Dredging at the Alix Lake day use area and boat launch is planned this spring.

Last October, Alberta Environment and Protected Places gave the village conditional approval to dredge the lake that has silted up over the years. Council made lake improvements a strategic priority in 2022.

Village chief administrative officer Michelle White said the community hopes to meet all of the province’s conditions and begin dredging in a few weeks in the first phase of a possible three-phase project to restore the lake’s depth and remove vegetation.

“By dredging these areas, the significant accumulation of silt and vegetation will be removed from the bottom of the lake, returning it to its regular sand bottom depth,” said White.

“These are high-traffic areas, which means once the silt is removed, turbidity (cloudiness) of the water in this lake will be significantly improved.”

To go along with the dredging project, a public information process is planned to give residents tips on how to care for an environmental reserve that circles the lake.

Most of a 6.3-kilometre village-maintained walking trail is located on the reserve and there are a few sections of reserve that abut residential properties.

Addressing the water’s turbidity and reducing high nutrient loads from decaying vegetation are expected to reduce algae blooms.

The second phase of the dredging project would see a much larger section of the lake towards the middle dredged to remove silt and vegetation.

“After Phase 2 is complete, Alix Lake may see a decrease in algae blooms due to decreased nutrients, decreased turbidity and increasing depth allowing the lake water to stay cooler for longer,” said White.

Like many of central Alberta’s smaller lakes, extended periods of hot weather sometimes lead to outbreaks of blue-green algae

People who come in contact with visible cyanobacteria or who ingest water containing cyanobacteria may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced and exposure to the bacteria may be fatal to pets.

The most recent blue-green algae advisory was issued for Alix Lake last August.

There is hope that after that work is completed, further dredging could be done to provide a lake deep enough to stock with fish.

If funding is available, the village also hopes to reduce vegetation around pumping structures at the north and south ends of the lake. For the last decade Alberta Environment has not permitted the use of the pumps, which pull water from the Red Deer River to help stabilize Buffalo Lake, after invasive species Prussian carp was found in the river.

There appears to be a lot of area interest in the village’s project. Nearly 60 people attended an open house on Feb. 20 and dozens of questions were answered.


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