Sampling for Possible Microplastic Occurences in the South Saskatchewan River Watershed
Kerry Lowndes, SSRWSI Manager

To date, there have been no studies on microplastics in the South Saskatchewan River watershed. The South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards (SSRWSI) received funding through the City of Saskatoon and the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund to determine the presence or absence of microplastics in water sources: their type and quantities.

Partnering on this project are Dr. Markus Brinkmann, Assistant Professor School of Environment and Sustainability and the Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF). Dr. Brinkmann, his student and the SSRWSI technician are undertaking the field work and SDWF will be supplying additional communications and educational materials.

Water samples were taken at seven sample sites along the South Saskatchewan River within Saskatchewan as well as three sites within the city and Beaver Creek. Sites funded by the City of Saskatoon were sampled monthly May through August while sites along the river funded by the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund will be sampled in May, June and July. 

Saskatoon sites included the Northeast Swale, Aspen Ridge Forebay, Evergreen Stormwater Pond and Beaver Creek. Thank you to the Meewasin Valley Authority for helping with access at several sites. Sites along the South Saskatchewan River included upstream and downstream of Outlook and Cabri, at the Fred Heal Canoe launch near Saskatoon, as well as at Clarkboro Ferry crossing and downstream of St. Louis. Samples will be tested fall 2020 at the University of Saskatchewan.

Other SSRWSI field projects this summer included the Flowering Rush Survey and Eradication, Sampling for Phosphorus in Lakes and Rivers Flowing into the Saskatchewan River, and the Aquatic Invasive Species veliger and substrate sampling.

Photo Credit: Juli Schultz
Aquatic Invasive Species Sampling in Saskatchewan
Many of the watershed groups spent many hours over the summer sampling water bodies in the province for zebra mussels and quagga mussels - two aquatic invasive species (AIS) that can have a negative impact on aquatic ecosystems, recreational water activities and water vessels.

Funding has been received through the Invasive Species Council and the Saskatchewan Fish and Wildlife Development Fund.

Groups will take water samples which will be eDNA tested for the presence of veligers (the larval stage of zebra mussels) and will also be sampling for zebra and quagga mussels. Results will be released within the next month or two.
This project was proudly supported by:
Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds 15th Annual AGM
August 25, 2020 was the 15th Annual SAW AGM, held in Gravelbourg, SK.

A new Board of Directors and Executive/Finance Committee were elected.

The 2020/21 SAW Board of Directors includes:

  • Aron Hershmiller - Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association;
  • Morgan Leigh - Carrot River Valley Watershed Association;
  • Paul Rubka -North Saskatchewan River Basin Council;
  • Dan Bowler - Old Wives Watershed Association;
  • Deb McGuire - South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards;
  • Bernie Lemire - Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards;
  • Sherwin Petersen - Wascana Upper Qu'Appelle Watersheds Taking Responsibility

The 2020/2021 elected SAW Executive/Finance Committee includes:
  • Paul Rybka - Chairman;
  • Sherwin Petersen - Vice-Chairman;
  • Aron Hersmiller - Treasurer.
Project Profile -
Hering Farms Inc.
Justin Melo, ALUS-WUQWATR Coordinator

The Wascana and Upper Qu’Appelle Watersheds Association Taking Responsibility (WUQWATR) has been working with Ryan Hering, of Hering Farms Inc., to complete environmental stewardship projects on his land for almost 5 years now. Ryan, along with his mother and father, have been farming in the Bruno, Saskatchewan area for over 40 years, having the land in their family since 1979. He has a total of approximately 250 acres enrolled in the ALUS-WUQWATR program, initiating his most recent project just this year.

Ryan began his first ALUS project back in 2016 where he established new upland areas and enhanced wetlands, riparian areas and waterways. After seeing the benefits of the project on his landscape, he initiated another project in 2020 where he seeded saline areas to permanent forage to help with soil erosion and weed control, improving the overall resilience of his landscape. In addition, he is hopeful that with this new permanent forage cover, he will continue to see an increase in biodiversity throughout his land.

Hear more about the program benefits from Ryan himself: “The first thing that attracted me to ALUS was the flexible terms. It isn’t a long-term binding contract which helps with changing plans down the road and it could be combined with the Canadian Agricultural Partnership as well. ALUS was of interest to me as I am trying to sequester carbon and take care of the soil; working with nature not fighting it. I even started noticing more wildlife, like mule deer, rabbits and coyotes, over the last few years in areas where my ALUS projects are located.”

We love being able to help farmers and ranchers throughout our watershed combine their successful agricultural businesses with environmental stewardship projects, giving back to the community even more than before! ALUS-WUQWATR works with participants to produce valuable ecological goods and services on or adjacent to marginal or environmentally sensitive agricultural land and provides per-acre annual payments to recognize a participant’s dedication to maintaining their projects. If you are interested in initiating an ALUS project and are in our watershed, please feel free to reach out to ALUS Coordinator Justine Melo, (306-552-3560), and she would be happy to help you enhance the benefits of nature on your working landscape!

Photo Credit: Paige Englot, ALUS Hub Manager, Prairie Region