There will be no pumping of water into Gull Lake this year, even with a new idea pitched to the province.
Ponoka County council heard from Coun. Doug Weir and Bryce Liddle plus CAO Charlie Cutforth at its Jan. 8 meeting about Gull Lake. They explained that at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Gull Lake Stabilization Committee there was a proposal that may get water pumping again to raise the lake’s water level.
The Gull Lake Watershed Society, which is made up of and represents concerned residents and property owners on the lake, is proposing a two-stage filtering process of the water from the Blindman River at the pumping station facility just northwest of Bentley. The plan would be to eliminate the chance of any of the extremely invasive Prussian Carp currently in the river from making into Gull Lake.
It should be noted that the committee — made up of representatives from the society and area municipalities — can only make recommendations to the province, with Alberta Environment having the final decision.
As was explained to council, the plan would see a series of two separate special filters placed within the confines of the pumping station’s inlet channel to clean out any possible contamination by the fish or eggs. The process is said to lower the chance of algae growth in Gull Lake, as the filtering would bring down the current high pH level of the river water.
“The plan is to be presented to Alberta Environment, though their representative at the committee explained an evaluation of it would likely not to be completed by the time any pumping could be done this year,” Cutforth noted.
“Politically, it’s a bit of a mine field. The problem is, if one creates a system that is believed to be fool-proof and once this fish arrives and is discovered in the lake, then the finger of responsibility will be pointed at the municipalities.”
Ponoka County has previously stated it doesn’t want to be responsible for any potential of allowing the invasive species into Gull Lake.
However, Cutforth understands the society is concerned about the affect the water level will have on recreational and other activities on the lake.
“The level has reached the target necessary to trigger pumping and we all know it needs to be higher,” he stated.