The lakes, rivers, and wetlands of Elk Island National Park are an essential component of the park’s ecological integrity.

Much of Alberta’s geography was shaped by the retreat of glaciers that covered this region more than 10,000 years ago. The Beaver Hills are a glacial moraine which was formed when three glaciers met and melted. The hills are characterised by “knob and kettle” topography – a mixture of hills and hollows formed by glacial debris. Retreating glaciers left pockets of buried ice that created the many lakes, wetlands, and ponds that dot Elk Island today.

From tiny to birds to the large mammals like moose, aquatic ecosystems support a variety of habitats and life forms in the park. Five ecological indicators are monitored to ensure the health of the lakes, rivers and wetlands within the park: