What is the Community Watershed Monitoring Network?
It's a partnership between the RDN's Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) program, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE), Island Timberlands LP, and many amazing community watershed stewardship groups in our region. The RDN provides the equipment and works with the MoE to complete annual training and data analysis. The MoE contributes expertise in water quality testing, deciphering gathered data and guidance in program direction. Island Timberlands sponsors the lab analysis costs for Quality Assurance and Quality Control, loans volunteers' safety gear and provides access to the upper watersheds. Dedicated community groups donate their time, attending annual training sessions, calibrating equipment and getting out on their local streams to collect water quality data.
Vancouver Island training sessions for all veteran and new volunteers partaking in the 2016 Community Watershed Monitoring Network will be on July 26, 2016. Click here for details on the 2016 Training Schedule. Note a training session will also be held on Gabriola Island, for more information call 250-390-6560.
Expands on the provincial data base, collecting enough data to see watershed trends and raise watershed health awareness in local communities. The long term objective is to use multiple years of data to determine which watersheds require more detailed monitoring and/or improved watershed management, and to assist in land use planning. Data is collected for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity for 51 sites in 17 watersheds across our Region. Additional lab analysis is being completed to further investigate what potential contaminants are associated with turbidity exceedances observed in the first 3-years of data collection. In 2014 eleven sites in northern RDN waterways were sampled for E.coli and Phosphorus and in 2015 eleven sites in southern RDN waterways are being sampled for E.coli, Phosphorous and metals.
Monitoring occurs once a week for 5 weeks in the summer low flow period (August - September) and once a week for 5 weeks in the fall flush period (October - November). See Program Outline 2016.
Streams currently monitored include: Thames Creek, Nile Creek, Big Qualicum River, Annie Creek, Upper Cameron River, Cameron River, Little Qualicum River, Whiskey Creek, Grandon Creek, Beach Creek, French Creek, Morison Creek, Swayne Creek, Shelly Creek, Upper Englishman River, Englishman River, Centre Creek, South Englishman River, Craig Creek, Nanoose Creek, Heikkela Brook, Millstone River, McGarrigle Creek, Departure Creek, Cottle Creek, Chase River, Beck Creek, Cat Stream, Nanaimo River and Mallett Creek.
After three years of sampling, each site's results are reviewed and testing at sites with consistently good water quality is suspended for three to five years. This allows resources to be used to expand the network, adding sampling at new sites where needed.