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Miquelon Lake NAM-46

Riparian Nation(s) Canada
Lat. 53°15' N Lng. 112°54' W Alt. 763.1 m
Surface Area 8.72 km2 Mean Depth 2.7 m Volume 0.02 km3
Shoreline 19.5 km Catchment Area 35 km2 Residence Time 0 yr
Frozen Period Nov-Apr   Mixing Type Polymictic   Morphogenesis/Dam  
Related Info/Site  

Description

Miquelon Lake is a shallow body of saline water located within the county of Camrose in central Alberta, about 40 km southeast of the city of Edmonton. It lies on the southern edge of the Cooking Lake moraine. The lake was once part of a considerably larger lake that receded and left three isolated basins, the largest of which is called "Miquelon Lake".

Miquelon Lake is representative of a large group of inland saline lakes that are scattered throughout the three prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta). Sulphate concentrations are relatively high and nutrient concentrations are extremely high. In contrast, phytoplankton and rooted macrophyte biomass are relatively low. Many of the moderately saline lakes are ideal for contact recreation, although they have a poor (if any) recreational fishery.

Miquelon Lake has been used for recreation by local residents since the turn of the century, especially after a railway line was established between Camrose and Tofield in 1909. The nearby hamlet of Kingman became known as the "Gateway to Miquelon". The access and facilities at the lake were greatly improved when Miquelon Lake Provincial Park was established in 1958. The park provides facilities for swimming, boating, camping and picnicking. Much of the land surrounding the three basins is a wildlife sanctuary which provides nature-viewing opportunities.

Presently, Miquelon Lake is heavily used for recreation, especially on warm sunny weekends. Game fish are no longer present in the lake but the beach area at the provincial park is generally clean and attractive for swimming.

The saline water tends to inhibit the growth of algae and the lake is often very clear.

There has been no surface outflow from Miquelon Lake since the 1920's. Drainage may have been toward the North Saskatchewan River through the moraine although there is geological evidence that the formerly large lake drained south toward the Battle River. In recent times (1927) southward flow occurred only after the outlet creek at the southern basin was deepened to divert water for the town of Camrose water supply. The flow in the diversion ditch ran only about three years even though the ditch was deepened when flow declined. The water level in the lake has declined considerably since then, separating the three basins. Many local residents blame the diversion for the drastic decline in water level in Miquelon Lake, but Woodburn suggests that this had a minor effect in comparison to climatic factors. The outlet canal has been blocked for many years (1, 2, 3, 4).

Photo of Miquelon Lake
Photo: S. Allen