RiverWatch is a program to assess the health of the Bonnechere watershed by bio-monitoring 28 tributaries spread throughout the watershed and by water quality testing 9 sites along the main stem of the river.
In 2008 BRWP received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to begin the development of the 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.
The BRWP has produced many RiverWatch and related reports. They can be found on the RiverWatch and Water Quality Reports page of this website.