Watershed Monitoring

RDN Stewardship Group Water Quality Network Monitoring Program

The MOE and the RDN are working with local stewardship groups to monitor water quality in our rivers.

The following groups are involved – Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES), Friends of French Creek Conservation Society (FFCCS), Parksville-Qualicum Fish and Game Association, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust (NALT), Qualicum Beach Stream keepers, and Nile Creek Enhancement Society.

The groups use simple, high quality monitoring equipment to monitor rivers during late summer and early fall. The MOE trains volunteers and the RDN provides the monitoring equipment.

The idea is to do water quality monitoring in a number of rivers in our area on the same day. It is to assess the effectiveness of water management within the RDN, as well as impacts to watershed health. The information will be used to guide watershed priorities and planning for the future.

Data is presented and compared when applicable to existing BC water quality guidelines or objectives. The data collected measures:

Turbidty – measures clarity of water. High values are associated with higher levels of contaminants

Temperature – If too warm not aesthetically pleasing to drink and can affect health and survival of aquatic organisms]

Dissolved Oxygen – if too low can affect health and survival of aquatic organisms]

Conductivity – the more dissolved ions in the water the greater the electrical conductivity. Dilution decreases conductivity but groundwater influences or sediment introduced in water can increase it.

The monitoring is being conducted on five days over 30 days of monitoring in the low-flow period. That’s just the first part of the program, however.

The monitoring is set to be conducted twice per year, once in the low flow and once in the high flow periods, in order to get an idea of the general state of the rivers involved.

A total of 26 different sites in 9 different watersheds were monitored in 2011, the pilot year of the program.