• Moose Lake Alberta

Moose Lake image courtesy of Tourism Alberta

Moose Lake Initiative

Proposed Moose Lake Remediation Project

We’re proposing an alum application in Moose Lake Alberta as a pilot project to fix the persistent harmful algal blooms. We’ve embarked on a public process of reaching out to residents, local stakeholders and government to share the proposal details and confirm support.

You are welcome to contact us at mooselakerestoration@algaecontrol.ca

To help keep you informed, we’re posting updates to this page as we progress.

January 13, 2022

On January 12, Ray Menard and Dr. John Holz presented our proposed pilot project for an alum application in Moose Lake to the Reeve and Council of the MD of Bonnyville. The project goal remains the same: to solve harmful recurring algal blooms in Moose Lake. We asked that they write a letter supporting our request to have the provincial government fund the Moose Lake Restoration Pilot. The Council accepted our presentation as information and will make a decision about writing a letter of support at a future meeting.

If you would like to support the proposed pilot project, please let your councillor know. Or, email us! We’re deeply interested in what you have to say. It was a 2018 community petition with 1800 signatures to fix Moose Lake algal blooms that started this process. 

You can view the January 12, 2022 presentation on the MD of Bonnyville’s YouTube page:

Presentation at 46:20
Brief Deliberation occurs at 1:13:40

December 11, 2021

Let us know what you think of the proposal for a pilot project!


We will be presenting to the MD of Bonnyville council in early January and we’d like to address any questions you may have.

November 23, 2021

We’ve got the rough cut of the video from the first public consultation posted at the bottom of the page!

It was a Zoom with about 40 people in attendance on November 15. We invited representatives from stakeholder groups like the MD of Bonnyville, Town of Bonnyville, LICA, Moose Lake Watershed Society, and Cold Lake First Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, the Metis Nations of Region 2 and the Kehewin Cree Nation .

Feel free to watch the whole thing. We welcome emails with questions. Ray or John will get back to you.

Please let us know, via the email address on this page, if you would like a notification of upcoming consultations and public engagement.

November 14, 2021

We’re proposing a pilot project of an alum application in Moose Lake fix the harmful algal blooms in and dramatically increase the water quality by doing so. A project like this has many stakeholders and at Algae Control Canada, we’re working diligently with community groups, local government and residents to share the benefits and science of the proposal.

This page will be updated over time and we urge you to check back.

This FAQ is provided to help members of the public understand the science of this project to solve harmful algal blooms in Moose Lake. Much of the information is provided by project partners HAB Aquatic Solutions.

What's alum?
Alum is the trade name for aluminum sulphate. It is a well-understood chemical that has been used in drinking water treatment for over a century and in lake management around the world for more than five decades.
What does alum do?
When alum is added to the surface of the water it forms an aluminum hydroxide “floc” that looks like snow falling through the water column. This floc settles to the lake bottom, binding to phosphorus in the water column on its way down. Once at the bottom this floc becomes incorporated into the lake sediments and intercepts any phosphorus that is being released from the lake bottom.

How is the alum applied?
Alum is injected under the surface of the water from a barge. The dose is targeted for the amount of releasable phosphorus in the sediments and the application is specifically targeted at areas of the sediments where the release of phosphorus occurs – deeper areas that experience low oxygen conditions during summer stratification.

Is alum safe? (for kids, fish and dogs?)
Yes. Alum is a well-understood tool for managing lakes and when applied properly presents no risk to people or animals

What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are a type of bacteria that use photosynthesis. Some types of cyanobacteria can produce toxins that can be dangerous for humans and animals. When present in large amounts in a lake it is known as a Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) because of the potential risks they present to human and animal health.

What is a Harmful Algae Bloom?

A Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) is when algae are present in significant enough quantities to cause harm to humans, fish and other animals. HABs can be caused by blooms of potentially toxin-producing algae blooms. 

Another impact of HABs is elevated sediment oxygen demand when the algae sink to the bottom of a lake and decompose. The increased oxygen demand uses up the oxygen at the bottom of the lake, or hypolimnion, which can lead to fish kills, ammonification, and the release of sediment phosphorus that will drive even more algal growth. It’s a vicious cycle – low oxygen levels lead to increased release of sediment phosphorus driving algae growth resulting in even lower oxygen levels…

What is phosphorus?
Phosphorus is the main nutrient of concern in lakes. Algae, like terrestrial plants, require phosphorus to grow. In lake environments, phosphorus is relatively scarce, which means increases in phosphorus lead to more algae and more undesirable types of algae (Cyanobacteria). This uncontrolled growth of algae directly or indirectly causes nearly every common water quality problem in lakes.

Where does this phosphorus come from?

Phosphorus enters lakes from two sources. Phosphorus entering the lake from outside sources are called external sources. These sources originate in the watershed and are either directly rinsed into the lake or flow to a stream that enters the lake. Common external sources include lawn fertilizers, septic systems, agricultural practices, stormwater, soil erosion and geese: anything that causes phosphorus to enter the lake from the watershed.

Once the external source of phosphorus enters the lake, it is deposited in the lakebed and is recycled back into the water column. This second source of phosphorus originates from within the lake itself. This is called an internal source. These inputs are most common during the summer and winter when water oxygen concentrations are low or zero near the bottom. This condition causes changes in the chemistry of the lakebed that led to the phosphorus leaching out of the sediment and into the water.

Both external and internal sources of phosphorus are important in managing lake water quality. The relative contribution of each source must be understood and measured to design the best solution for any given lake. External sources can be measured in the water entering the lake or estimated from models of the surrounding watershed. Internal sources are determined by collecting lakebed sediment samples (cores) and measuring the amount of phosphorus available to leach out into the water.

Have other locations used alum in lakes/has this been tested before?
Yes. Alum has been used for over five decades in lakes around the world. Its use as a lake management treatment is endorsed by the North American Lake Management Society and there is a substantial body of peer-reviewed science supporting its use. Agriculture and Food Canada recommends alum as a treatment for agricultural dugouts and reservoirs.

What are the risks associated with alum applications?
When alum is applied under the appropriate conditions, specifically when the pH of the water is within a specified pH range there is no risk to people, animals, or fish. The pH of the water is checked before an application begins and monitored constantly throughout an application. If the pH is not within a range that is safe, the application will not commence or will be halted

Why aren't existing algae removal methods not appropriate?
n lakes where the predominant source of phosphorus driving algae blooms is from the sediments, there simply isn’t a more cost-effective way to deliver immediate water quality improvements than alum. Managing watershed phosphorus inputs alone usually takes decades or even a century to deliver measurable improvement. A “reset’ of a lake with alum will make the results of ongoing watershed management tangible.

Who will pay for the application?
We will be asking the Alberta Government to fund this pilot application.

How long will the lake have reduced algae?
The targeted longevity of an alum application is 25-30 years. Combined with effective watershed management this can be extended.

Will the pilot project interfere with lake recreation like swimming and boating?
Not significantly. The application will be targeted in the deeper areas of the lake that experience stratification and low oxygen level at the sediments. Boaters and fishermen will be asked to avoid the areas while the application barge is working, only on the days the alum is being applied.

Will the beaches and other ways I play on the lake change after the application?
Yes. With less algae growth will mean better water clarity and reduced potential for lake closures by Alberta Health Services.

Why has Moose Lake been chosen for this proposal?
Moose Lake is one of the best-understood lakes in Alberta. Thanks to years of monitoring and study by the LICA, the Moose Lake Watershed Society, the MD of Bonnyville, the Alberta Lake Management Society and others, we know that:

  • the steadily decreasing water quality in Moose Lake is primarily because of modern human activity
  • in its natural state, Moose Lake had a lot fewer algae blooms than it does now 
  • Moose Lake algal blooms are predominantly driven by internal phosphorus loading
  • Moose Lake is surrounded by people who care deeply about it and are eager to end the poor water quality issues

In short, Moose Lake checks all the boxes for government approval and funding of a remediation project.

How will an alum application affect my property value?
It’s likely it will increase. There are numerous studies that link an increase in water quality to increased property values for properties in the area

How do we measure the success of this project?

At a high level, improved water clarity along with a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of algal blooms will be realized immediately.

Ongoing monitoring of the Moose Lake will provide higher resolution confirmation of the ongoing effectiveness of the alum application.

About Us

Algae Control Canada is the independent offshoot of Smoky Trout Farm Ltd. Located just outside Red Deer, Alberta, Algae Control Canada builds on the sustainable and science-based heritage of a recirculating trout farm, which has stocked thousands of ponds across Alberta with trout and provided surface water management solutions to private ponds, lakes and dugouts across Canada.

Algae Control Canada has translated the expertise gained through years of effective small pond management, including lean budgets and challenging natural environments, to a diverse array of corporate and government clients and their needs. Our customers receive plans based on science and data.  Projects pursue clear, measurable water quality objectives customized for the waterbody. This approach is collaborative and practical. 

HAB Aquatic Solutions, LLC specializes in improving surface water quality through the use of aluminum-based products (e.g., alum and sodium aluminate). HAB’s research and development efforts improved upon traditional alum application approaches by developing strategies to address the unique challenges of today’s water resource management projects.

They are a full-service alum application company. HAB has over 60 years of combined experience and provides the most comprehensive alum services available, including pre-project water quality monitoring, algae identification, chemical dose determination, GPS-guided chemical application, alum injection systems for the treatment of stormwater/stream water, and post-project water quality monitoring and evaluation. HAB’s co-founders (John Holz and Tadd Barrow) are two of only a handful of scientists qualified to provide complete alum treatment services: from dose calculation, to application, to project evaluation.

Want To Learn More? Reach Out.



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