Six Streams Initiative
Six Streams Initiative
The Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association (BPBA) recognizes water quality is fundamental to ecological and human health, and it is a necessary foundation for our region’s economic prosperity. Clean water and clean beaches has to be more than a slogan. That is why in 2012 BPBA began the multi-year Six Streams Initiative to reduce phosphorus, nitrates, E. coli, oil and other undesirable elements entering our streams.
Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association has continued to work on several ambitious objectives:
- Gather information on the quality of the water in our streams
- Provide cattle with alternative watering sources, other than streams
- Fix failing septic systems
- Reduce phosphorus and sediment loading from soil erosion into the streams
- Improve shoreline stewardship
In the summer of 2012 the Biosphere Association began to monitor the water quality in six streams that feed into Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This monitoring is essential to determine if our restoration efforts are making a difference.
The streams are:
- Stokes River
- Old Woman's River
- Judges Creek
- Swan Lake
- Unnamed Creek flowing into Pike Bay
- Black Creek
Naturally, the water quality in these streams affects Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Black Creek is a control as it flows primarily through Black Creek Provincial Park and its water quality is high. BPBA received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund to monitor and restore streams, with the support of area landowners and students by:
- facilitating the training of volunteers to become Water Quality Data Collection Technicians
- taking and analyzing water samples
- installing alternative watering systems for cattle
- undertaking volunteer-based restoration projects.
BPBA collects benthic samples in August which are analysed by a taxonomist. A community of benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, crayfish, clams, snails, and worms) is one of the best indicators of the overall health of a stream. Chemical samples give a snapshot of the water at one moment but benthic macroinvertebrates are living there all the time. The composition of their population will be affected by either periodic episodes of poor water quality or continuous poor water quality. (Please click here for more detail on benthics).
Water chemistry samples are collected after storm events and then are sent to ALS Laboratories for analysis.
The baseline data sets of water chemistry variables from 2013, 2014 and 2015 water sampling to describe stream health in reference to provincial and federal standards have been analysed by Catherine Dielemann of the University of Western Ontario.