The rapid bioassessment of lakes: protocol design and testing in Manitoba's boreal shield
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Rapid bioassessment (RBA) methods have largely been used for streams and rivers, with little development of equivalent methods to be used in lakes. This has restricted the assessment of lakes because traditional methods are time- and cost-intensive. Here I show that a newly designed RBA protocol can be used to monitor a wide range of boreal shield lakes effectively. Seventy per cent of lakes with over 25% of their shoreline developed with cottages were assessed as impacted using a multimetric index. This research has built on previous knowledge, placing new emphasis on standardizing sampling efforts by depth, habitat type (cobble sediments) and sample area in lakes. My recommendations provide water resource managers with methods that can be used as a screening tool to monitor a large group of lakes affected by a variety of stressors.