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. RiverWatch Reports can be viewed below.
During the 2011 summer season, the Bonnechere River Watershed Project (BRWP), in collaboration
with Carleton University, was able to visit three lakes in the Bonnechere River watershed (BRW) as
part of its RiverWatch program, to meet members of the lake associations and to take some
measurements in each lake at points of interest to the group. This report includes the results of those
measurements. It also includes a report prepared by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment at the
request of the BRWP based on time series data from the MOE Lake Partners program for the four BRW
lakes in the program. The report is available here.
On August 31, 2011, during a visit to Golden Lake, the BRWP RiverWatch team (Jessica Danard, BRWP RiverWatch coordinator, and Sarah Anderson, Carleton University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies) and Jack Blair (Golden Lake steward) measured some basic water quality parameters with both the Sonde water quality instrument (supplied by Dr. Murray Richardson, Carleton University, DGES) and the Vernier water quality probes owned by the Bonnechere River Watershed Project. The purpose was to see how comparable the results were, in order to decide how to use equipment in future projects. The report is available here.
Dr. Murray Richardson of Carleton University, prepared a report on Water Quality Monitoring of the tributaries in the Bonnechere River Watershed. The report is available here.
A presentation on the watershed monitoring program (2010-2012) was given by Dr. Murray Richardson and Sarah Anderson from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of Carleton University during the BRWP's 2011 AGM on April 14, 2012 at the Sands on Golden Lake. A downloadable copy of the presentation is available here.
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.
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.