Welcome to the second in a series of "Volunteers on the Go". Our volunteers are proving very resilient by continuing to do MVIHES work while following the recommendations of BC's health officers in fighting COVID-19 (i.e. still no hugging and kissing allowed). Here are some more things we are doing.
Water Sampling in the Englishman River Watershed
Since 2011, MVIHES has been a participant in the Community Watershed Monitoring Network, a partnership between several community watershed stewardship groups and the Regional District of Nanaimo's Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program (DWWP). MVIHES collects water quality data in the Englishman River watershed that is used by the DWWP to guide land use planning that will ensure sustainability of water resources.
Elaine Lefbvre (in the photo to the left) is one of the MVIHES volunteers who has been monitoring water quality for six years now. Elaine is using a meter to measure the turbidity of the water in the Englishman River. Monitoring is conducted for five weeks in August/September during the driest time of the year when water flows are at their lowest, and five weeks in October/November 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 Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN):
- water temperature: high water temperatures stress fish and can impede their development
- dissolved oxygen concentrations: measures how much oxygen is available for fish and aquatic bugs
- turbidity: measures the cloudiness of the water, high turbidity can be a sign that erosion is occurring in the area
- conductivity: measures the amount of substances in the water, high conductivity can be an indicator of pollutants
Every year in July, two employees of the DWWP hold training sessions on the operation and maintenance of the meters before monitoring begins in August. This year the training was conducted differently because of Covid-19 but it got done, nonetheless.
Monitoring sites are located between the Orange Bridge in Parksville and the upper Englishman River above the Englishman River Falls, and include Shelly, Morison and Centre Creeks and the South Englishman River. Some of the sites are on Mosiac Forest Management property so require some four wheeling to access (woohoo!) and a radio to communicate with logging trucks on the road. Elaine is in charge of the radio. And the scenery is gorgeous, as seen by the photo to the right.
What you may not know is that Elaine is a MVIHES board member and our invaluable editor. All the web articles and MailChimp messages are first reviewed by Elaine to make sure we mind our "P's" and "Q's", that our articles are clear and concise, and that we don't bore our readers with a lot of technical mumbo jumbo. A big thanks to Elaine.
Stream Flow Monitoring
And a big thanks to Shelley Goertzen (right hand photo) who is our Secretary, keeping us all organized and taking the minutes of our Board Meetings, sending out the MailChimp messages, and the most exciting job of all, as seen by the expression on her face, entering all the data from the smolt trap and other fish surveys into a spreadsheet for Fisheries and Oceans (I think she's asleep). The rest of the time she is out doing field work like Stream Flow Monitoring.
MVIHES is conducting streamflow monitoring in the Englishman River this summer to