The effects of watershed characteristics and disturbance history on lake water quality of the boreal region of south easterrn Manitoba
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Water quality in remote lakes on the east side of Lake Winnipeg was largely unknown. This study was the first attempt at characterizing the baseline conditions in a large number of lakes on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. Water quality of up to 99 boreal shield lakes was sampled by floatplane in 2004 and 2005. Standard physical and chemical water quality data were collected for each lake. Water quality in this region was affected by characteristics of the watershed such as soil type, the proportion of wetlands in the watershed, and forest type. Watershed disturbance such as forest fire and forest harvesting appeared to have a marked influence on water quality. Forest harvesting disturbance and to a lesser extent fire disturbance was associated with the most eutrophic lakes. However, the most dramatic differences compared to reference sites appeared to only occur when a larger proportion of a watershed had been disturbed. The data indicated that if watershed forest harvesting had an impact on water quality it appeared to be of longer duration than that of forest fire.