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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » South Saskatchewan Region » South Saskatchewan River Basin » Milk River Ridge Reservoir

Milk River Ridge Reservoir

    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Reservoir Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:82H/7, 8
Location:Tp4, 5 R19, 20 W4
Lat/Long:49°22'N 112°35'W

Milk River Ridge Reservoir is an attractive offstream reservoir located 8 km south of the town of Raymond in the County of Warner. Its deep, clear water and the pleasant surrounding scenery make it a popular spot for power boating, water skiing and angling. To reach the reservoir, take Highway 5 south from the city of Lethbridge for approximately 27 km, then drive east on Highway 52 for 6 km, south on Secondary Road 844 for about 8 km, and east on Secondary Road 506 for about 12 km. Turn north onto the access road for Ridge Park Municipal Recreation Area, located on the south shore (Fig. 1, 2). This park is operated by the municipal district; it offers 12 campsites, pump water from a cistern, a concrete boat launch, a beach and a playground. As well, an Alberta Environment day-use area with a gravel boat launch is located on the east end of the reservoir (Fig. 2). There are no boating restrictions over most of the reservoir, but in some posted areas all boats are prohibited, and in other posted areas power boats are restricted to a maximum speed of 12 km/hour (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988).

Milk River Ridge Reservoir is named for the gently sloping ridge to the south which provides welcome relief to the flat prairie. The reservoir was built by the federal Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration in 1956 as an offstream storage and balancing reservoir for the St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID). Alberta Environment has been the owner of the reservoir and all structures since 1974 and operates them in cooperation with the SMRID. As is shown on the map in the introduction to the South Saskatchewan and Milk River basins, Milk River Ridge Reservoir is the third largest of the 12 major reservoirs in the SMRID; only St. Mary and Chin reservoirs are larger. Water enters Milk River Ridge Reservoir via a canal from St. Mary Reservoir. Most of the outflow flows north and east to supply water for irrigation and municipal and domestic use as far east as the city of Medicine Hat; a smaller outflow supplies water to areas just east of the reservoir.

Milk River Ridge Reservoir is a moderately deep, steep-sided reservoir with clear water that is attractive for recreation. Water skiing and power boating are popular on the east end and anglers eagerly seek the reservoir's very large northern pike. In 1974, a pike weighing 17 kg, an Alberta record, was taken (English 1977). There are no regulations specific to the reservoir, but provincial sport fishing regulation and limits apply (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). A commercial fishery for lake whitefish operates on the reservoir for two weeks in October each year.

The south shore of the reservoir is dissected by many coulees. The natural vegetation in the coulees provides excellent habitat for deer, grouse, pheasants and partridge, and the bays in the lake provide good habitat for waterfowl. The islands at the east end are used by nesting geese and gulls, and pelicans and cormorants can also often be seen there.

Physical Information
Area (km2)15.3
Max. Depth (m)16.5
Mean Depth (m)8.4
Dr. Basin Area (km2)168
Dam, WeirDam
Drainage BasinSouth Saskatchewan River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishLake Whitefish, Walleye, Northern Pike

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusOligotrophic
TP x (µg/L)12
CHLORO x (µg/L)2.6
TDS x (mg/L)119

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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