Baptiste & Island Lake Stewardship Society

BAILS Board of Directors

Dennis Irving – President
Morris Nesdole – Vice President
Wendy Appleby – Secretary/Communications/Treasurer
Kendra Gilbert
Jim Montague
Dwayne Rawson, Athabasca County
Mike Schouten
Gord Shopland
Thomas Tarrant

BAILS Vision

To maintain a healthy lake and watershed for Baptiste and Island Lakes recognizing the importance of living within the capacity of the natural environment and providing sustainable recreational, residential, agricultural and industrial benefits.

BAILS Mission

The mission of our Stewardship Society is to improve the lakes water quality and ensure the watersheds are protected to provide healthy lakes for the continued enjoyment of all.


BAILS Receives the McIntosh Bulrush Award

In October of 2019 BAILS received the McIntosh Bulrush award from the Association of Summer Villages of Alberta (ASVA) for the work BAILS has done creating the Watershed Management Plan for Baptiste and Island Lakes.

The McIntosh Bulrush award was established by the ASVA after the untimely death of Bruce McIntosh in June of 2010. Bruce was heavily involved in the BISL (Baptiste, Island and Skeleton Lakes Stewardship Society) organization. This organization eventually became BAILS (Baptiste and Island Lakes Stewardship Society).

We sincerely thank all participants who were active in the drafting of our WMP. Your contributions made it possible for the receiving of this award.

BAILS Watershed Management Plan (WMP)

Over the summer and fall we presented the WMP to all the Summer Villages at their public meetings, The Town of Athabasca Council, Athabasca County Council, Lessor Slave River Council and the Athabasca Watershed Council. The presentations were all very well received and we have numerous letters offering support of our efforts.

Copies of the WMP and the Executive Summary are on the website. If you would like a printed copy of the full report (66 pages) or the condensed Executive Summary (10 Pages), please contact any one of the BAILS Board Members.

AGM and Public Information Meetings

On Aug 24, 2019 BAILS held the AGM and Public Information meeting at Grosmont Hall, 10 am to Noon, with a complimentary hot dog lunch sponsored by the Summer Village of South Baptiste.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite the attendance we would have liked but we are committed to forge ahead with the important initiatives identified in the WMP. We will not let it sit on a shelf gathering dust!

In addition to thanking Morris Nesdole for the interesting presentation on noxious weeds as provided by Alberta Invasive Species Council, we would also like to sincerely thank the following folks for their presentations:

– Tom Habib, Ecologist, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
– Jordan Dyck, Planning Forester, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc
– Keagan Richardson, Woodlands Operations Planner – Forest Resources, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.

We are happy to announce that our 2020 AGM and Public information meeting will be held on Saturday, Aug, 22, 2020, at the Island Lake Hall at 10 am to noon with a complimentary hot dog lunch courtesy of Island Lake South.

***We have not finalized the agenda and would welcome your suggestions regarding presentations and what information you think would be relevant.***

Please mark this date on your calendar. A further confirmation email will follow in early summer.

Follow-up Committee

As we announced at our Summer Village and neighbouring municipalities presentations, we intend to form a small working committee to do follow up on the various recommendations in our WMP. It is important to prioritize the recommendations into meaningful action plans so we are in need of volunteers. Our success in looking after the lakes is dependent on participation from volunteers and neighbours in our communities.

These recommendations, goals & strategies are included in the WMP in Appendix 3. Five Year Workplan (2019-2024).

For those of you who are interested in continuing our important efforts, please contact Morris Nesdole (VP) or Dennis Irving (Pres.). Remember, more hands make less work!

New Appointments

Our previous Treasurer Lori Barr has moved leaving us with a vacancy for Treasurer. We would like to thank Lori for her past contributions and tireless efforts in her role as Treasurer on the BAILS Board.

Wendy Appleby has volunteered to take on the Treasures position and to help her out in the communications area, Gord Shopland has volunteered to be her well received communications assistant.

We are also very pleased to announce that we have a new appointment to our board from Island Lake South. A big welcome to Thomas Tarrant – we appreciate and look forward to his involvement in our BAILS organization.

Lake Levels

As you may be aware, lake measuring has not been conducted by the Government for several years. This last year, BAILS took on the task of monitoring the lake levels. In 2019 the lake levels were tracked from May 13, 2019 to Sept 30, 2019.

These are graphs are for measurements from 1971 to 2009 for Baptiste Lake and from 1968 to 2018 for Island Lake.


This past season Island Lake was fairly consistent while Baptiste Lake fluctuated from a low of 578.24m to 578.86m (62m variance or 2ft). The graphs for both lakes show several seasons where the levels were higher than this past season as well as showing the lowest levels through the years that measurements were conducted. For Baptiste Lake, the median between 1971 – 2011 was 578.296m.

The Baptiste Lake watershed is one of the largest in Alberta. It is 30 times the size of the lake and includes 12 tributary streams which drain 92% of the watershed into the lake. Island Lake watershed is approximately 8 times the size of the lake and receives flows from Ghost Lake which drains 37% of the watershed as well as a number of smaller seasonal creeks draining the remainder of the watershed.

The measurement of lake levels will be continued by BAILS this coming season.

Lake Testing

BAILS has carried out lake and stream testing for the past three years in cooperation with the U of A School of Public Health, Associate Professor, Patrick Hanington.

Through all this testing, we are pleased to announce that for both Baptiste and Island Lakes, human and cattle contamination is very low. There are a couple of minor areas of concern which BAILS will be addressing with the appropriate municipalities. Although there were no huge areas of concerns, we all need to be diligent by being aware about what is going into our lakes and watershed.

These results are available on our BAILS website and if anyone would like further information on the test results, please feel free to call Dennis Irving 780-689-9366 or Jim Montague at 780-675-5914.