We now have 40 volunteers monitoring 19 sites throughout the Couchiching region (see map below). This includes 14 volunteers from Copeland Forest Friends, some long-standing Conservancy volunteers, and people we've just met and are looking forward to getting to know better.
In addition, 35 grade 11 students from Patrick Fogarty Secondary School (pictured above) are monitoring Grant's Wetland as part of their chemistry program.
Special thanks to volunteer Lisa Neville. Her experience as a marine biologist and water quality expert with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada means we now have the skills we need to conduct training sessions for new volunteers in-house.
We're looking forward to working with all of you and seeing your test results!
Learn more about Copeland Forest Friends here:
Extreme Temperatures & Water Testing Chemicals Don't Mix:
The chemicals in the kits are vulnerable to extreme heat and cold. If you have to keep your kit for more than a day, please take it out of the car and store it in the house.
The map above shows testing sites for 2016 and the rough boundaries of each sub-watershed. Shaded areas fall under the jurisdiction of a Conservation Authority. The Talbot River North is managed by both Kawartha Conservation and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA). Ramara Creeks and Oro Creeks North are managed by LSRCA. The North, Coldwater, and Sturgeon River are managed by the Severn Sound Environmental Association. Matheson Creek is managed by the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority.
A few areas we are monitoring fall into an unregulated zone, such as the Severn River near Washago and the Head/Black River. Anything in Ramara that does not drain into Lake Simcoe (the entire north end of Ramara) and the City of Orillia do not fall under the jurisdiction of a Conservation Authority.
Over the summer and early fall we've continued to see nitrate-nitrogen levels between 2 and 4 parts per million in Fittons Creek at Grant Wetland. We've also discovered that the higher we go up the creek towards Bay Street, the higher the nitrate-nitrogen level.
A lab test verified our results so we have confidence in the kits. Now we just have to figure out the source. Sources of nitrate-nitrogen could include fertilizer, sewage, and agricultural run-off.
We've had reports of the creek suddenly silting up during construction in the spring, and recently going brown overnight and returning to clear the next day. It seems this cold water creek that supports Brook Trout and Trout-Perch is under some stress.
Nitrogen is essential to all living things and is a component of protein. Excessive nitrogen above 10 parts per million is considered dangerous for human an animal consumption. The readings we are getting are not in the ideal range for fish and indicate there is nitrate-nitrogen pollution which should be monitored closely.
See our most recent photos:
Pandorus Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
First, an apology: We didn't take any photos of the great group of volunteers who did training on Saturday September 24th. An oversight on our part and we'll try to get some shots of you in the field soon.
Please try and take some photos while out in the field and pass them along. We'd love to include them in our flickr album and our funders like them too :-)