Lesser Slave Lake Habitat Mapping Project Summary
Lesser Slave Lake, with 241 kilometers of shoreline, is the second largest body of water in Alberta (Bentz and Saxena 1993). This area supports a wide range of user groups including: agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, municipalities, commercial fishing, tourism, and recreation. Human activity throughout any watershed alters riparian areas and nearshore littoral zone habitat (Jennings et al. 1999), ultimately affecting water quality. The issue of cumulative effects has acknowledged importance in the conservation and management of aquatic systems (Panek 1979; Burns 1991), yet only recently have studies addressed the association between incremental shoreline habitat modifications and effects on riparian areas, near-shore habitat, littoral habitat, and aquatic communities (Bryan and Scarnecchia 1992; Beauchamp et al. 1994; Ward et al. 1994; Christensen et al. 1996; Jennings et al. 1999). The Lesser Slave Lake Habitat Mapping Project was created in response to concerns over the current status of the shoreline and the surrounding nearshore land use. The project was a preliminary investigation to identify related riparian projects and to propose methods to address data deficiencies concerning the riparian habitat of Lesser Slave Lake.