Volunteers on the Go - Part II
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 ensure good water quality is available for the recovery of wild salmon populations.
Elaine Lefebvre (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.
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.
Nine monitoring sites are located between the Orange Bridge in Parksville and the upper Englishman River above the Englishman River Falls. Some of the sites are on Mosiac Forest Management property so require some four-wheeling to access (woohoo!) and a two-way radio to communicate with logging trucks on the road. Elaine is in charge of the two-way 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 Department of 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 using a device called a Flowtracker, to help determine if there are sufficient flows for sustaining fish populations. As seen in the photo to the left, Shelley is operating the the Flowtracker controller and Dick Dobler (you may remember him in a previous article as "Catcher of the Fry") is using the "wading rod" which has the Flowtracker probe attached to the bottom. Chris Smith (you may know him as the Glaskrafter) is holding the clipboard, waiting for data. And taking the photo is Pete Law.
Flow monitoring sites include upstream and downstream of the new water intake for the Parksville water treatment plant, the old water intake, and downstream of the old water intake before the Englishman River Estuary. If you are interested in particpating in this or other projects, see below.
1. YELLOW FISH LAWN SIGNS. A few years ago we had a Salmon Friendly Lawn program that promoted water conservation in the Oceanside area. Residents made a pledge to not water their lawns in the summer months and received a yellow fish lawn sign to signify their pledge and get their neighbours interested. We are reviving the program and are looking for some people who have skills and equipment for woodworking to produce the wooden fish. We will supply the wood and a fish template.
2. GROUNDWATER WELL MONITORING. Several private wells in the Englishman River watershed contain data loggers that collect information on water levels every four hours all year round. This information is used to help the RDN understand the state of the aquifers in our region. MVIHES downloads the data off the loggers and sends it to the RDN and GWS which is a hydrological engineering company that has created a computer model of our aquifers. We are planning our next round of downloads for September and are looking for people to help