Tributary Water Quality

Provincial (Stream) Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN)

The SSEA participates in the PWQMN as an active partner with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), and has been doing so since 2002. The objective of the program is to protect and preserve aquatic life and to protect the recreational potential of surface waters, by providing reliable and current surface water quality data across Ontario.

The SSEA collects samples at 12 stream stations across 7 subwatersheds (Copeland Creek, Hogg Creek, Silver Creek, Wye River, Sturgeon River, Coldwater River, North River). Two additional sites are sampled on Lafontaine Creek and the Wye River that aren’t part of the PWQMN. Samples are collected 8 times a year (monthly basis) during the ice-free period (April to November) with additional runs sampled during the winter months. During each season, a variety of flow conditions are sampled such as low flow and storm events to capture a range of water quality conditions throughout the year. The samples are shipped to an MECP laboratory for analysis, parameters included turbidity, total phosphorus, chlorides, nitrates, chloride and metals. To coincide with the sampling field parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, turbidity and general condition of the site are recorded.

Tributary chemistry data is used to develop baseline water quality conditions for each station and provides an early warning system by identifying trends and emerging issues. It can also be used to make informed resource management decisions and support additional SSEA programs (i.e., benthic macroinvertebrate, tributary temperature).

All provincial water chemistry data, including the 12 SSEA locations, can be found on the Provincial (Stream) Water Quality Monitoring Network website.

For more information on stream sampling, contact:

Paula Madill, Ecosystem Technologist           
705-534-7283 ext. 203

SSEA Ecosystem Technologist
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