Lakeland County is experiencing increasing developmental pressures arising from the oil and gas boom at nearby Fort McMurray. There is increased industrial traffic passing through the county, and 600 new residential lots are proposed in 2005, almost double from 5 years ago. Deteriorating surface water quality has been a concern in the area due to an increase in development and agriculture, while excessive fish harvesting and winterkills have impacted commercial and recreational fisheries. Today, walleye and pike populations in the lake remain collapsed and restocking efforts have not been successful. Due to the lack of studies done on the watershed, the county is leading a multidisciplinary research study which includes a baseline water quality study, riparian health assessments, land use mapping and ground-truthing and projects with the local health authority. This research has been summarized in a comprehensive state of the watershed report, which will be used to complete a watershed management plan for the Lac la Biche watershed. Recommendations from the state of the watershed report and watershed management plan will also be incorporated into municipal planning documents and recommend changes to the Municipal Government Act itself.

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