The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation advises people to be cautious on all frozen water bodies, especially those that have aeration systems.
Aerating a water body helps prevent winterkill, which occurs when aquatic plants either die or reduce their oxygen production, leading to fish kill. Aeration systems circulate fresh air into small, shallow fish bearing water bodies that are vulnerable to winterkill. As a result of the air bubbling up to the surface, there is often thin ice and open water near an aeration system. Water bodies with aeration systems are posted with warning signs and people are advised to stay clear of these posted areas.
Aeration systems usually operate between December and March. A list of water bodies with aeration systems is attached. Changing temperatures, combined with the amount of snowfall and slush in some areas, can also contribute to unsafe ice conditions. Extreme caution should be taken while traveling on the ice this winter.
Here are some ice facts that people should be aware of:
- ice strength should never be judged by appearance alone;
- ice thickness is seldom uniform throughout a water body and can sometimes vary from safe to unsafe within a metre;
- changing temperatures can cause thermal cracks and pressure ridges, which are indicators of unsafe ice;
- slush indicates that ice is eroding from above and below;
- large, deep lakes take longer to freeze and are slower to melt than smaller lakes;
- currents in a river or creek make ice approximately 15 per cent weaker than lake ice; and
- heavy snowfall in some areas of the province can reduce the bearing capacity of the ice. The weight of the snow often causes slush and/or flooding. Snow also acts as an insulator, which slows the freezing process.
The SWF hopes you safely enjoy your outdoor activities this winter. For more information on ice safety check out the Ice Safety Tips and Ice Thickness card available on the Lifesaving Society website at http://www.lifesaving.org/public_education.php?page=181
The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) proudly represents over 33,000 members from 122 branches across Saskatchewan and is considered to be, per capita, the largest wildlife conservation organization of its kind in the world. For more info about the SWF go to www.swf.sk.ca.
For more information, contact:
James Villeneuve, Director of Fisheries
SWF Aeration Projects – 2014
Bell Pond 1 km S. of Luseland
Buffalo Pound Pond Buffalo Pound Prov. Park
Ceylon Reservoir 3 km E of Ceylon
Clearwater Lake 8 km NE of Kyle
Condie Reservoir 11 km NW of Regina
Eagle Creek Pond 25 km NW of Asquith
From Lake 7 km N of Spy Hill
Lady Lake 8 km NW of Preeceville
Melville Reservoir 3 km NW of Melville
Picnic Lake 6 km E of Edam
Oyama Reservoir 5 km E of Kronau
Redberry Pond Redberry Lake Regional Park
Scott Reservoir 8 km SW of Wilkie
Steistol Lake Greenwater Lake Prov. Park
Struthers Lake 11 km NE of Crystal Springs
Waldheim Pond Town of Waldheim
Wilson Lake 12 km SW of Springside
Wynyard Reservoir 2 km S of Wynyard