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Students learn about monitoring

A photo of ABCA staff taking water sample in Lake Huron.


Local students learned how to monitor water quality on World Water Monitoring Day on September 18, 2023 

Conservation educationstaff from Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) taught local students, at Huron Centennial School in Brucefield, about monitoring water on World Water Monitoring Day on Monday, September 18, 2023.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation's Conservation Education Coordinator Cassie Greidanus was at Huron Centennial School in Brucefield on World Water Monitoring Day. She worked with eight classes and taught close to 200 students.

Inside the classroom, the students learned what a watershed is and the different pollutants that can have a negative impact on water resources. They learned about the potential for a range of human activities to impair water quality and how people can reduce those impacts.

The students learned about indicators of a healthy creek. Those indicators include levels of oxygen, temperature and sediment. They also found out what we can learn from the presence or absence of aquatic species in our local watercourses.

The students had a chance to do their own monitoring, by using YSI ProQuatro Multiparameter Meter technology and interpreting the data they collected.

The students did their own research, using dip nets to find our what lives in our local water bodies. The students found lots of minnows, crayfish, bloodworms, leeches, water boatmen, water striders, and more.

"Students were extremely engaged and so were the teachers," Cassie said.

Staff at Ausable Bayfield Conservation say it’s important for local youths to learn about water resources in their local watershed community and about the importance of monitoring water quality and protecting it. The lesson they are providing to students meets Ontario Curriculum educational expectations for science and geography. The students also learn about careers in conservation.

The staff say that “monitoring matters.”

Quoting from the 2023 Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card, monitoring is important because “ … it provides baseline data for current conditions that allows us to detect changes in environmental conditions.” These changes may be gradual or ‘chronic’ and take place over many years from many sources. They can also be sudden or ‘acute’ – such as a spill or contamination.

“Monitoring indicator species, such as benthic invertebrates and mussels, can tell a longer-term story of ecosystem health,” according to the Watershed Report Card. Monitoring can also identify new threats such as invasive species or other concerns, such as poor drinking water. “Without monitoring, these threats could go undetected and have implications for human and ecosystem health,” according to the Report Card. “Monitoring helps to evaluate progress towards our goals,” the report says. “This helps us to determine the effectiveness of our actions, and how best to proceed in the future.”

To learn more about local work to sample water and monitor presence or absence of aquatic species in local watercourses, and to monitor water quality for the long term, visit the Ausable Bayfield Conservation environmental monitoring web page. You are also invited to find out about groundwater and surface water quality in the Watershed Report Cards

You are also invited to contact Healthy Watersheds staff at Ausable Bayfield Conservation by email or phone. Their contact information is listed on the staff contact page of the website.

World Water Monitoring Day is traditionally celebrated each year on September 18. This is part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge (EarthEcho Water Challenge) which is observed each year to highlight work that takes place around the world to monitor water quality. This world-wide initiative takes place between March 22 (World Water Day) and December of each year. Find out more at EarthEcho Monitoring Challenge.

#MonitoringMatters #MonitorWater #WorldWaterMonitoringDay @EarthEcho

PHOTO INFORMATION: World Water Monitoring Day is held on September 18 each year.  This is part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge (EarthEcho Water Challenge) which highlights work that monitors water quality. This world-wide education campaign takes place between March 22 (World Water Day) and December of each year. In photo, a staff member from Ausable Bayfield Conservation, takes water samples in Lake Huron to sample and test water quality as part of their long-term monitoring of watershed resources such as water quality. This water sampling program is possible thanks to community partnerships.

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