In August of 2017, members of the Killarney Lake Action committee, the Healthy Lake committee of Pelican Lake and community volunteers partnered together to assemble and install an aeration field system near Killarney's water treatment plant consisting of 64 micro-bubbler heads positioned on ten lines at the bottom of the lake.  This to help deter the regular blue-green algal blooms that took place throughout the summer months, often beginning before the end of June.  Killarney saw their beach closed down, and their campgrounds empty by mid-summer.

Some were skeptical, others looked at the positive changes in Pelican Lake and were left hoping, and still others threw their hands in the air and said, "Well, we gotta' try something!"

The plan was to run the aeration system throughout the summer months at full capacity and then to taper the system down to two lines, running adjacent to the shoreline, this to minimize the amount of open water in the winter.  Killarney Lake is a recreation lake in every season, with traffic on the lake year-round - from summer fishing to ice fishing, boating to snowmobiling.

Having now completed its 6th year with this strategy the lake committee has looked back at the progress gained over the years, and then to look forward to seeing what can be done now at this stage. How can they do better? The algal blooms still show up from time to time, yes, it is a prairie lake, but what steps can be taken to make it better?

The committee considered a variety of options: extending the aeration field, building a second aeration field over by the golf course, looking at what's available with technology.  But what about continuing the aeration field at full capacity all year round, the same as Pelican Lake?  The committee researched the benefits and the challenges.  

They came up with a 3-year plan.  

Wednesday morning, committee members proposed their plan to the Killarney-Turtle Mountain council members, the first step being to ask that the aeration field remain at full capacity starting this fall.  

Newest member to the committee, Shane Warnez, was instrumental in researching the different options to help reduce the toxic algae blooms, even sourcing out new technological studies and strategies.

Warnez says he was very pleased with their presentation and council's decision to move ahead with the 3-year plan, taking note that the biggest challenge was the amount of open water during the winter months if the aeration field was at full capacity year-round.   

It is unknown how far and wide the open water would stretch, and how the current under the ice would affect the quality, depth and formation of ice.  As all ten lines have never been running throughout the winter it's difficult to determine how far the open water would reach.

Safety signage and more flashing lights on posts would need to be positioned to alert everyone travelling on the ice to be cautious.  Killarney residents and visitors would need to be informed and reminded more often to this change over the winter months.

"We believe that there will still be lots of area that our anglers can put their ice-fishing shacks on," explains Warnez. "So, it's really a win-win situation, you know, trying to create a healthier lake and also allow our sportsmen to do the thing that they love, which is to fish on the lake. And it's a matter of us communicating that there will be more open water, placing more signs, just making sure that everybody remains safe."

"I'm new to the committee, and I'm pretty excited," he adds. "And I really want to acknowledge the work that's been done in the past. There's been a lot of work over the years. Living on the lake we've seen tremendous improvement in the lake, both from a health perspective of the fish (we used to see a lot of fish-kill) and a lot less algae!  Clearly we still have more work to do but that's what we're trying to get onto."

As for the Killarney Lake Action Committee and council members, it will be a very interesting two-year study of sorts to see what the aeration field system can do at full capacity throughout the year, over the course of 3 years, and how this affects each following summer's algal blooms.

Please listen to more with Shane Warnez below!

(Photos below: the installation of the aeration field system August 2017 - Killarney Lake)