In 2008 BRWP received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to begin developing a RiverWatch program to encourage public interest in valuing the importance of streams in the Bonnechere watershed. To help accomplish this a long term monitoring program was created to provide water quality assessments based upon biological and water chemistry elements.
BRWP has monitored water quality in select streams of the watershed since 2003. RiverWatch continued to monitor these historically sampled streams in addition to incorporating other streams that now enables an assessment of the entire watershed's health. By 2011, a data baseline for 30 streams had been created with the expectation that each would be re-assessed every 5 years.
The biological assessment is based upon observing the benthic macro invertebrates living/or not living in a stream. The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) protocol is used to interpret the significance of the observations.
In 2009-10 a fulltime RiverWatch coordinator experienced in biomonitoring designed the monitoring protocol and held a training workshop to help train volunteers - similar workshops are expected to be held in the future. Participants learned the monitoring protocol, how to perform stream assessments and how to identify and interpret the major groups of benthic macro invertebrates.
A series of public engagement workshops are planned for the upcoming year. These workshops will focus on helping to vision the future for the watershed and its inhabitants. The results of these workshops will determine how the steps that can be taken to ensure the future and the health of the watershed.
Although the BRWP has spear headed this project we believe that it is an important part of everyone’s life that resides, recreates and cares for the watershed. We see this project as an opportunity for everyone living in the watershed to join in and become contributors.
In cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health, water quality tests have been undertaken over a two year period with samples taken from seven different locations on the river. This baseline data was collected from where the river flows out of Algonquin Park before it comes under the influence of human settlement to where it flows into the Ottawa River near Castleford.
The Bonnechere River Watershed Project was assisted in the analysis of the water quality tests by Professor Ben Hawkins, Kemptville College, University of Guelph. His presentation to the Annual General Meeting in February 2002 concluded that while oxygen and pH levels are within acceptable standards for recreational water, there are increased levels of phosphorus and nitrogen at higher flow rates, especially along the lower reaches of the river.
A second phase of testing was completed in July 2004. This involved the collection of monthly samples from six locations from Douglas to Castleford over a two year period. Prof. Hawkins' report to the February 5th, 2005 Annual General Meeting confirmed earlier indications that although the Biological Oxygen Demand levels show the river is in relatively good shape, there is concern about increased levels of phosphorus, nitrates and nitrites below Eganville.
In the next phase, the Bonnechere River Watershed Project will explore the development of a sub watershed project with area farmers to implement best management practices and then monitor the impact of these changes on water quality.
What you should know about Ground/Surface Water interactions
posted Jan 6, 2011 4:07 PM by Admin BRWP [ updated Jan 6, 2011 4:09 PM ]
Legislation affecting stream systems
Originally posted March 31, 2008
Wetlands and flood plains play a vital role in the provision of flood control and general support to the natural environment. In particular, they provide a spawning ground for fish and a source of food to support local fish species. With the recognition of the importance and contribution of these parts of the watershed it is also important to recognize there are several federal and provincial Acts that have application which are illustrated in the following diagram:
Adding to the complexity of wetland and flood plain management is the fact that under certain situations and conditions the various regulatory requirements do not align and may on occasion reflect competing interests.
it can be viewed here.