Will focus on local streams, rivers, watershed areas
A Northeast Avalon group dedicated to environmental protection was the recent beneficiary of a Canadian university’s project to help communities monitor the water quality of local streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.
Myron King from Northeast Avalon ACAP (NAACAP) and CURA H2O’s Oliver Woods show off the gear included in a Wet-Pro field kit used to monitor water quality. CURA H2O donated this field kit to NAACAP as part of its mandate to increase community capacity to monitor water quality. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
A representative of CURA (Community-University Research Alli-ance) H2O was in St. John’s last week to help members of the Northeast Avalon ACAP (NAACAP) learn how to use a Wet-Pro field kit.
The kit, a portable water-testing kit, includes an electronic device that measures the pH level of water, conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and other traits that contribute to the understanding of water quality.
It also includes a GPS unit. Information collected can be uploaded to an application that instantly sends the information to a database maintained by CURA H2O, which is run by Saint Mary’s University’s geography department in Halifax, N.S.
The kit’s arrival came just in time for World Rivers Day, which is recognized every year on the last Sunday of September.
Myron King, NAACAP’s office and outreach co-ordinator, said the kit will come in handy for the organization’s work in the 15 municipalities it serves from Holyrood to Witless Bay and up to the tip of the Northeast Avalon.
“We’ve been doing projects around water quality ourselves for some time now, but (the kit) will increase our capacity to get other organizations (locally) involved in monitoring water quality,” he said. “It’s a very important thing to do for our rivers and our watershed areas.”
According to King, it was CURA H2O that initially reached out to NAACAP to gauge its interest in becoming a part of its five-year project, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Environment Canada has also supported the project.
King emphasized the importance of water quality to a variety of species that include fish and land-dwelling animals.
“It’s important to keep an eye on (water quality) to know what changes, and when that change happens so that you can do some more investigations and research on it.”
Oliver Woods, a CURA H2O staff member who was in St. John’s last week to help train NAACAP members to use the equipment and visit a few local bodies of water, said the project’s primary objective is to help community groups collect standardized water quality data.
“A lot of the groups have traditionally collected water samples and tested water in a variety of ways, and ... we’ve developed this training kit and training course that allows people to standardize the data collection and make it more comparable.”
CURA H2O distributed 18 kits to community groups in Nova Scotia, but has since then broadened the project’s scope to work with groups in other parts of Atlantic Canada.
“There’s a lot to learn by sharing our experiences between provinces,” said Woods.
King hopes NAACAP will be able to partner with municipalities and other not-for-profit organizations to use the field kit, which has an estimated value of $7,800.
“Groups that get on board and want to do some monitoring, we can act as a hub to help network and put that together,” he said.