Water Quality Monitors in the Englishman River Watershed
Once a week for the next 5 weeks our volunteers will be monitoring water quality at nine sites in the Englishman River Watershed. This monitoring program is part of the Community Watershed Monitoring Network (CWMN) run by the Regional District of Nanaimo's (RDN) Drinking Water and Watershed Protection department.
Every year the CWMN monitors for 5 weeks in August to collect water quality data during the driest time of the year when water flows are at their lowest, and 5 weeks in the fall when rainfall is running off the land and carrying sediment into the creeks and rivers. Four water quality parameters are measured using scientific meters supplied by the RDN: water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentrations, turbidity (measures the amount of solids in the water), and conductivity (measures the amount of contaminants like metals). Each summer, two employees of the RDN hold a training session on water sampling technique, and the operation and maintenance of the meters.
The sites that MVIHES monitor are located between the Orange Bridge in Parksville and the upper Englishman River above the falls, and include Shelly, Morison and Centre Creeks in addition to the Englishman River. Some of the sites are on Timber West and Island Timberlands' properties which require some four wheeling to access (woohoo!) and a radio to communicate with logging trucks on the road.
Ben is using a meter for measuring temperature, oxygen and conductivity, while Elaine shows Janet how to use the turbidity meter on Centre Creek
This water quality data was critical for identifying erosion and sedimentation problems in Shelly Creek which led to some stream rehabilitation work and a hydrology study to identify the source of the problems.
The RDN compiles all the data from the CWMN in an annual report titled "The State of Our Streams" which can be found here.