19. August 2011 22:58
Posted by Jenni and Jade
This summer at Lower Trent Conservation, we have been busy monitoring streams in our watershed through the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) protocol. We begin performing a ‘kick and sweep’ motion in the stream to collect benthic invertebrates (bugs that live in streams) which harbor themselves under rocks and along the stream bed. We then tally the different species that are found, which help to give an indication of the water quality. Each of these invertebrates has a different tolerance to pollution and thus, their mere presence or absence describes a very important aspect of the stream.
We also spend the other half of the summer monitoring the base flow of streams in the watershed. Base flow is the measurement of ground water movement, which can only be measured when the water level is unaffected by external forces (i.e. runoff, and precipitation). This summer we have had many challenges regarding the continuation of baseflow monitoring due to the heavy precipitation. As the protocol states, there must be a 72 hour time lapse after a significant rainfall in order to obtain an accurate sample.
Once a month, we collect water samples from 13 sites around the LTC watershed, which are sent to the Ministry of the Environment to check for dissolved oxygen and metals along with other basic water quality tests. We have also been beach sampling which entails collecting water samples from beaches that are often closed as they are at high risk for contaminated waters. With the beach sampling protocol, we also collect algae samples to monitor the rate of eutrophication in the Bay of Quinte.
As an extra bonus, we have had the opportunity to help the Ontario Federation of Angler’s and Hunters (OFAH) in electro fishing some streams in our watershed. This allowed us to gain experience in fish identification, electro fishing monitoring and stream morphology through the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP). It has been an amazing summer and we are truly grateful for the experience we have gained! Thank you to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Lower Trent Conservation!