Riparian Health Assessment of Wabamun Lake
One of the data deficiencies noted in the 2013 Wabamun Lake State of the Watershed Report (PDF) was the lack of information about the extent of natural riparian habitats around the lake. The riparian area of a water body is the “transitional area between upland and aquatic ecosystems," and is crucial to the health of a lake. The riparian area filtres water entering the lake and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife and fish, including nesting areas for waterfowl and shorebirds, and spawning sites for fish such as northern pike.
In 2014 the Wabamun Watershed Management Council (WWMC) approached the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) to assess the riparian zone around Wabamun Lake. The NSWA conducted a study using video footage captured by a quad-copter, unmanned air vehicle (UAV or drone) during the summer of 2014. The drone was flown over the riparian zone of the lake (with the support of WWMC volunteers and their boats) and the video footage was analyzed by the NSWA. The resultant report, including a map of the lake with its riparian areas highlighted, can be downloaded: Riparian Health Assessment of Wabamun Lake.