Shore watch colour

Shore Watch

Love your lake?
Want to help keep it healthy?
Give us more eyes along the shoreline…
Become a Shore Watch Volunteer!

Volunteer Spotlight Water Quality Monitoring Volunteers

​Are you interested in becoming a steward in your bay or lake by collecting water quality data and general observations of aquatic phenomena (click here for examples)?

We are looking for volunteers within the Severn Sound watershed, either on one of our inland lakes (particularly Orr, Little, Bass, Farlain, MacLean, and Couchiching), or on the shores of Severn Sound (includes Honey Harbour, see map above).
Typical observations and data collected through the Shore Watch program include:


  • ​Air and water temperature
  • Conductivity and pH
  • Weather, wind, and wave conditions
  • Water clarity, colour, and odour
  • Particles floating in or on the water
  • Observations of algae
  • Water level impacts
  • Plastic pollution
  • Plant and wildlife sightings, including invasive species and species at risk
  • Human disturbances
  • Photos of any observations

These observations can be made from the shore, off a dock, or from a boat depending on what you have available to you. You don’t need to own shoreline property to participate – observations can be made on publicly accessible shorelines. You can make observations as often as once a day to a minimum of every 2 weeks.

We are particularly interested in observations of algae growth. Algae blooms can be very short-lived and localized, making them difficult for SSEA staff to monitor. Citizens can notify SSEA of a potential algae bloom, or bring a live sample in a glass jar, along with a completed Algae Identification Request Form. Samples will be identified in-house and verified with experts when necessary. This sampling increases eyes on the ground and helps to identify nuisance algae blooms in timelier manner. Observers can use our ID guide to help identify the type of algae bloom they are seeing and to access further resources, including our video on Algae in the Severn Sound Area. By completing observations and sending data to the SSEA you are helping us learn more about the Severn Sound watershed! 

The SSEA will provide training for all volunteers on how to collect water quality data and environmental observations. Each volunteer will also receive a citizen science kit with the equipment needed to participate in the program.​

Depending on your site and what you already have, this equipment could include:
  • Pool thermometer or water quality meter
  • Temperature data logger
  • Compass and wind vane
  • Secchi disk and rope
  • Rain gauge
  • Metre stick
  • Monocular
​The objectives of this program include:
  • ​increasing community engagement and knowledge of local environmental issues
  • increasing SSEA’s capacity to observe environmental conditions across the watershed, especially in nearshore areas of lakes
  • tracking relationships between nearshore algae growth and environmental factors such as wind direction, wave action and temperature
  • collecting sightings of invasive species and species at risk
  • identifying areas in need of beach clean-ups or habitat restoration
  • tracking indicators of climate change, such as water temperature and wind speed
SSEA Shore Watch Equipment Kit

If you are interested in the Shore Watch program, contact our Citizen Science Program Coordinator with your name, phone number and/or email address, and location of shoreline you intend to “watch.”

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