Water Quality Monitoring
Surface water quality monitoring allows us to identify potential sources/causes of poor stream health and target effective strategies to improve stream health within our watershed. Long-term monitoring allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of best management strategies over time.
How do we sample surface water?
Authority staff use a water quality probe to collect some of the water quality information at each sampling site. Staff also collect water quality samples in containers provided by the MECP and submit them to their laboratory for analysis.
Where and when do we sample surface water?
Staff sample 11 sites within the watershed. Three sites are located along Nottawasaga River with other sites located on major tributaries near confluence with river (Innisfil Creek, Pine River, Mad River, Boyne River, Willow Creek, Bailey Creek) or, in the Collingwood area, where streams discharge to Nottawasaga Bay (Pretty River and Silver Creek).
Eight water quality samples are collected at each site every year. Low flow and storm events are sampled during each season to capture a wide range of water quality conditions at each station.
What results are we seeing?
There is a general trend of increasing nutrients and turbidity (cloudiness of the water) along main river from Hockley Valley to Wasaga Beach under low flow conditions.
Innisfil Creek typically has the highest concentrations of nutrients and highest turbidity within the watershed.
Storm events result in significantly higher levels of nutrients and turbidity at all stations within the watershed
Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network
NVCA is part of the
Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN). The PWQMN is a partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and other conservation partners to measure surface water quality in rivers and streams across Ontario.
From time-to-time, NVCA staff undertaken and/or participate in special water quality research projects.
Nottawasaga Bay - Nearshore Water Quality Monitoring Project
In 2016, NVCA was retained by Environment and Climate Change Canada to undertake a study of water quality in the nearshore zone of Nottawasaga Bay. The project looked to:
- collect baseline water quality samples from pre- and post-rain events to measure nutrient and nuisance bacteria concentrations,
- characterize the status and health of the benthic macroinvertebrate community throughout the nearshore,
- document the presence of several invasive species,
- document the presence of
Cladophora (green algae), and
- use the findings to support best management practices and inform management decisions.