Shediac and Scoudouc Rivers Water Quality Monitoring
Water quality monitoring began in the Shediac Bay Watershed during the provincial water classification program in the years 2000 and 2001. Basic physical measurements were then taken at the same sites from 2002 to 2006. In 2007, additional parameters were measured (nitrate-nitrogen, total phosphorus and E. coli counts) on a monthly basis at each sampling site. The water quality monitoring is used to support the need for specific remediation actions and measure the effectiveness of our work. It is also used to complete detailed sanitary surveys and establish the status of our rivers.
Such monitoring helps determine if changes to the water quality have occurred and if sections of the stream or river remain suitable for aquatic life. It is of utmost importance to have accurate and continuous data of water quality parameters for the watershed. This allows for effective management strategies in the creation of remediation plans.
A database was created to gather historical SBWA monitoring data between 2000 and 2015. This data set shows trends in water quality for sites monitored by the SBWA.
CABIN Macro-Invertebrate Survey
The Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) is an aquatic biomonitoring program for assessing the health of fresh water ecosystems in Canada. The SBWA field team has been certified to conduct the sampling of invertebrates. Data on the habitat and species found were collected and sent to the Miramichi River Environmental Assessment Committee in a partnership project looking to increase CABIN data in Atlantic Canada.
All data from the CABIN surveys have been entered in the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network database on the Government of Canada website. Data can be shared with other groups and reports can be generated from the website.
The next step in this program is to compare our sites with reference sites in the area to determine stream health.
Link to report Macro-Invertebrate Survey report 2006
Water Testing in Shediac Bay
To measure improvements in water quality, Shediac Bay Watershed Association (SBWA) staff has initiated a water quality collection and testing program for waters of the inner bay. In-kind water analysis is performed by the Science & Technology Branch/Marine Water Quality Monitoring laboratory of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Water samples are collected by boat at approximate 3-week intervals at the locations shown on the map. The protocol with exact location details and latitude and longitude values can be found here sampling protocol 2015.
The board of directors has written a statement to clarify the facts on the position and role of the Shediac Bay Watershed Association on this issue – Rectifying the facts (bilingual).
Data is summarized in the Water Sampling for the Shediac Bay report.
MPN: The most probable number (MPN) of coliform or fecal coliform bacteria per unit volume of a sample. It is expressed as the number of organisms which are most likely to have produced the laboratory results noted in a particular test.
In 1992, Health Canada recommended microbiological guideline values for recreational water quality. The values are based on the presence of fecal indicator bacteria which in the case of the Bay of Shediac is fecal coliforms. The standard is 200 E. coli/100 ml or 200 fecal coliforms/100 ml when experience demonstrates that over 90% of the fecal coliforms are E. coli. These E. coli do not last long in salt water. This data represents a snapshot of conditions that day. Thus we are looking for large deviations from acceptable levels. The samples are taken by boat and do not represent conditions at beaches used for swimming.
Many factors contribute to the levels of bacteria that will enter a water system. Though not all-inclusive, some of the factors of interest that can affect the readings include:
Precipitation, water temperature, wind, flooding, pipe overflow, weather patterns preceding collection, number of persons in water, number of boats in water, state of the tides, time of day, flow from rivers, bird numbers, etc.
Our staff is available to expand on how each of these factors can affect final counts of fecal coliforms. By email – email@example.com, or by calling the office at 533-8880.
Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP)
Every summer since 2004, watershed and science-based community groups have been monitoring the health of ecosystems in estuaries throughout the Gulf Region, in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
The program consists of a single sweep of a 30-metre-long beach seine, at multiple sites, effectively gathering a representative sample of fish, shrimp and crab communities. The organisms caught are identified, counted and released. Other information is gathered on-site, such as water quality measurements, sediment samples and information on aquatic plants.
The SBWA studies 6 sites around the Scoudouc River estuary and 6 sites around the Shediac River estuary. In the past 12 years of sampling, communities in both rivers have remained relatively stable, indicating no major impacts on the health of these ecosystems.
Salt marshes are an important ecosystem for the health of the Bay of Shediac. In 2016, the Association will survey the salt marshes around the Bay. We will Salt marshes are an important ecosystem for the health of the Bay of Shediac. In 2016, the Association will survey the salt marshes around the Bay. We will be examining vegetation and land use around the marshlands.
Two marshes, one in Pointe-du-Chêne and one in Grande-Digue, have been chosen for Bird Studies Canada’s Maritime Marsh Monitoring Program. This program aims to monitor all marsh birds, including waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wetland-associated species and their habitats. Monitoring these marsh birds helps us track long-term population trends and assess overall marsh health.
A report on the status of Shediac Bay marshes in will be available in winter 2016.
Eelgrass is an important component of the ecosystem of the Bay of Shediac. It serves as shelter and food for a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans and shellfish.
In 2016, the Shediac Bay Watershed Association has established an eelgrass monitoring area near the mouth of the Scoudouc River. We will be using protocols established by SeagrassNet and joining a worldwide study. SeagrassNet is an ecological monitoring program that investigates and documents the status of seagrass resources and the threats to this important and imperiled marine ecosystem. The program started in 2001 in the Western Pacific and now includes more than 126 sites in 33 countries, with a global monitoring protocol and web-based data reporting systems.
The study area in the Bay of Shediac will help determine if there are changes in the eelgrass bed in the long term.
The project is coordinated by the Southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability.
State of the Bay reports
Two important reports have been specifically prepared on the Shediac Bay Watershed.
In 2006 a report on the general state of the Bay and activities by the Association was published with support from the Environmental Trust Fund, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Shediac Rotary Club. The report provides general information on the ecosystems and human activities in the Shediac Bay Watershed.
You can find this report here (Status of the Shediac Bay and it’s Watershed-2006)
An Ecosystem Overview Report , prepared by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2009, provides a good source of scientific and technical information about the Shediac Bay.
You can find this report here. ( Ecosystem overview of the Shediac Bay Watershed- DFO 2009)