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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » North Saskatchewan Region » Battle River Basin » Coal Lake

Coal Lake

    1.Introduction
    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Lake Basin Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics
    6.References
    7.Appendix

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:83H
Location:Tp46, 48 R23 W4
Lat/Long:53°08'N 113°21'W

Coal Lake is a long, sinuous lake located approximately 60 km southeast of the city of Edmonton. Most of the lake is in the County of Wetaskiwin, but the northern portion is in the County of Leduc. Coal Lake lies in a portion of the glacial meltwater channel that drained glacial Lake Edmonton after the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. Beginning east of Nisku, the channel can be traced as it winds southeastward through a chain of lakes-Saunders, Ord, three unnamed ephemeral lakes, Coal and Driedmeat. Coal Lake is attractively bordered by treed valley walls rising 45 m above the lake. Access to the water is available at Alberta Environment day-use areas at each end of the lake. The southern day-use area can be reached by driving west from the city of Wetaskiwin on Highway 13 for 13 km and turning north onto Secondary Road 822 (Fig. 1) just west of the hamlet of Gwynne. The northern day-use area is located where Secondary Road 616 (Cloverlawn Road) crosses the lake (Fig. 2). Both day-use areas include boat launches, parking areas and picnic tables. There is no campground at Coal Lake.

Coal Lake was named in 1892 by J.D.A. Fitzpatrick, a Dominion Land Surveyor, for the coal beds present in many places along the northeast shore (Millet Dist. Hist. Soc. 1978). It is likely the same lake that is labelled "Long Lake" on the Palliser map of 1859 (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976). Despite the obvious beds of coal, there has never been any commercial mining near the lake. However, local farmers mined small quantities of coal along the shore until the early 1950s.

Coal Lake has been used as a municipal water supply by the City of Wetaskiwin since 1968 (City Wetaskiwin n.d.). Prior to the construction of a dam in 1972, the lake was much shallower, with a maximum depth of 2.5 m. In dry years, algal blooms in the lake caused intolerable taste and "curious colour" in the city drinking water (Battle R. Reg. Plan. Commis. 1974). In 1972, Alberta Environment built a dam across the valley 100 m downstream of the natural sill; this rerouted Pipestone Creek to flow into Coal Lake (Fig. 2). The lake surface is now 3 m higher, the water quality has improved and the lake is a reliable source of water for Wetaskiwin. The lake still supports a dense blue-green algal bloom through most of the sum­mer.

Year-round sport fishing for northern pike is popular at Coal Lake. There are no sport fishing regulations specific to the lake, but general provincial regulations apply (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). The lake is also popular for power boating and snowmobiling. General federal boating regulations apply to the lake, but there are no specific restrictions (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988). A hiking trail developed by the Waskahegan Trail Association follows the western shore (Battle R. Reg. Plan. Commis. 1974).

Physical Information
Area (km2)10.9
Max. Depth (m)5.5
Mean Depth (m)3.5
Dr. Basin Area (km2)1250
Dam, WeirDam
Drainage BasinBattle River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundNone
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishYellow Perch, Northen Pike

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusHyper-Eutrophic
TP x (µg/L)176
CHLORO x (µg/L)43.5
TDS x (mg/L)288

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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