A note to lake association volunteers: FOCA reminds and encourages everyone to keep physical distancing in mind while at the lake. It is incumbent on each individual to monitor their own behaviour and volunteering activities to adhere to the latest Public Health protocols related to COVID-19.
Find out if your lake is being sampled!
June 4, 2021 – the Lake Partner Program’s province-wide sampling results from 2020* are available for download:
- Total Phosphorous results (Excel; 3 MB)
- Average Secchi depth (water transparency) results (Excel; 3 MB)
- Calcium results (Excel; under 1 MB)
- Chloride results (Excel; under 1 MB)
* Please note that your lake may not have been sampled in 2020, as the program was placed on hold for many months due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Contact the Lake Partner Program Coordinator if you cannot access the results.
Or, review past results on the interactive online map which is maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks. (NOTE: the map data is only current to 2019)
No recent results listed for your inland Ontario lake? We might need a volunteer in your area! Could it be you?
Need more context about the program? Download a detailed overview of the LPP in FOCA’s Lake Partner Program report (PDF, 43 pages), including information about the program history, citizen science involvement, data trends, and case studies of how the long-term data is used. Also find out how to understand your own lake’s trophic status, water chemistry and biological features.
Lake Stewards: Need a sampling refresher course? Use the following tools, and watch the short video, below.
Sampling Tools & Guides
- Guide to Interpreting Total Phosphorus and Secchi Data (pdf; 4 pages)
- LPP Secchi summary (2 pages)
- LPP Calcium decline factsheet (2 pages)
- A FOCA Guide to Citizen Science at the Lake (52 pages)
Lake Partner Program Sampling Video
October 26, 2021 – See over 7 million water quality data points (including all the Lake Partner data) on Great Lakes Datastream!
December 2020 – The Lake Partner Program chloride concentration dataset (years 2015-19) is now available for download, here (Excel; under 1 MB). The results can also be viewed on the Ontario Open Data Catalogue. Chloride is one of 4 parameters monitored through the LPP. Chloride is an essential element found in fresh and salt water, but road salt also makes its way to waterbodies through runoff, to harmful effect.
October 1, 2020 – As communicated in the FOCA Elert on June 18, 2020, the Lake Partner Program was placed on hold in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and physical distancing requirements, so that the ministry could assess the safest way to continue the program while keeping volunteers and ministry staff safe. This assessment has been completed and the Lake Partner Program is being reinstated with temporary modifications for 2020. Click here to see the full letter from MECP regarding the modifications for the completion of the 2020 sampling season.
April 28, 2020 – Following many months of productive conversations with our partners at MECP, FOCA was looking forward to a continuation of the important citizen-led province-wide Lake Partner monitoring program this year.
Despite FOCA’s best intentions to continue with the Lake Partner Program (LPP) in 2020, the volunteer sampling and sample submission, plus any laboratory work by the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) has to be postponed indefinitely. Given the many closures, particularly the lab services at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre, it will be impossible to deliver this program.
Many of you are already in receipt of your sampling packages, and we ask that you please hold on to these for when the program eventually resumes.
Note: though the LPP water sampling/submission/testing is on hold until further notice, secchi readings can still be taken and recorded for your sampling locations WHEN AND IF CONDITIONS ARE SAFE TO DO SO.
An important part of this program has been the communication of the water sampling results, which are a vital resource for the hundreds of groups that support the program through their citizen science/sampling and related stewardship activities. For some inexplicable reason, the Province of Ontario has not been willing or able to release the data for the 2019 sampling season. FOCA believes it is not only appropriate but in fact imperative that this public data be made public. Notwithstanding the current pandemic situation, this information should be released immediately, as part of the MECP mandate and the Made in Ontario Environment Plan. FOCA and others have been requesting action from Ministry officials on this matter for months, with no response.
We encourage any of our volunteers or other program partners to reach out to their Member of Provincial Parliament to get their support to have this data released to the public. You can find your local MPP along with their contact information, here.
September 2017 – Secchi Trends Across the Province (PDF, 2 pages) – Read the new fact sheet from the Lake Partner Program and FOCA, about water clarity and the role of the Secchi Disk!
Key findings: while Secchi depths of the majority (65%) of lakes studied between the years 2000 and 2014 did not change significantly, over the last 10 years there has been a 19% decline in the number of Secchi depth readings collected per year. This is concerning. Read the fact sheet to find out what you can do to help!