Climate Change is projected to have long-term and ever-increasing effects on communities and the environment. It is encouraging to hear that data gaps in the vulnerability assessment for the City of Greater Sudbury’s (CGS) drainage related infrastructure are being addressed to prepare for the predicted increases in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events associated with climate change.
Assessing landscape and contaminant point-sources as spatial determinants of water quality in the Vermilion River System, Ontario, Canada
As part of the Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project, funded through a 3-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, Carrie Strangway completed her Master’s Thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree of Master of Science in the Faculty of Science, Applied Bioscience, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. What follows is Carrie’s published Thesis:
Abstract The Vermilion River and major tributaries (VRMT) are located in the Vermilion watershed (4272 km2) in north-central Ontario, Canada. This watershed not only is dominated by natural land-cover but also has a legacy of mining and other development activities. The VRMT receive various point (e.g., sewage effluent) and non-point (e.g., mining activity runoff) inputs, in addition to flow regulation features.
Further development in the Vermilion watershed has been proposed, raising concerns about cumulative impacts to ecosystem health in the VRMT. Due to the lack of historical assessments on riverine-health in the VRMT, a comprehensive suite of water quality parameters was collected monthly at 28 sites during the ice-free period of 2013 and 2014. Canadian water quality guidelines and objectives were not met by an assortment of water quality parameters, including nutrients and metals. This demonstrates that the VRMT is an impacted system with several pollution hotspots, particularly downstream of wastewater treatment facilities. Water quality throughout the river system appeared to be influenced by three distinct land-cover categories: forest, barren, and agriculture.
Three spatial pathway models (geographical, topographical, and river network) were employed to assess the complex interactions between spatial pathways, stressors, and water quality condition. Topographical landscape analyses were performed at five different scales, where the strongest relationships between water quality and land-use occurred at the catchment scale. Sites on the main stem of Junction Creek, a tributary impacted by industrial and urban development, had above average concentrations for the majority of water quality parameters measured, including metals and nitrogen. The river network pathway (i.e., asymmetric eigenvector map (AEM)) and topographical feature (i.e., catchment land-use) models explained most of the variation in water quality (62.2%), indicating that they may be useful tools in assessing the spatial determinants of water quality decline. Read more →
Spatial-determinants of deteriorating water quality in the Vermilion River, by Carrie Strangway, UOIT
As part of the Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project, funded through a 3-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, Carrie Strangway completed her Master’s Thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree of Master of Science in the Faculty of Science, Applied Bioscience, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. What follows is a poster of her more detailed manuscript, which will be published shortly:
The Vermilion River and major tributaries (VRMT) receive various point and non-point inputs, in addition to several flow regulation features, along their continuum. Further development in the Vermilion watershed has been proposed, raising concerns about cumulative impacts to the ecological health of the VRMT. To assess the current state of riverine health, water quality metrics were monitored monthly at twenty-eight sites during the ice-free period of 2013 and 2014. Generation of landscape-scale data revealed a broad range of land-cover and road density in the watershed at differing landscape-scales. Sites on the main-stem of the Junction tributary had above average concentrations for the majority of water quality parameters measured, specifically, sites within Copper Cliff Creek and Junction Creek (i.e. CC- 12 and JUN-13) were the most impacted. The river network pathway (i.e. asymmetric eigenvector map (AEM) eigenfunctions) and topographical features (i.e. catchment land-use) explained most of the variation in water quality (62.2%), thus both proved to be useful spatial determinates of deteriorating water quality.
This is the result of a 3 year water quality sampling project on the Lower Vermilion River, within the Vermilion River Watershed.
A big thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding this important Project!!
Another big thank you goes out to KGHM International Ltd. for their generous donation and for Conservation Sudbury’s in-kind contribution towards the extension of our Project into the 3rd year!!
Presentation made by Carrie Strangway at Vermilion River Stewardship’s General Meeting on 14 October 2015.
Presentation by Anoop Naik, Conservation Sudbury, at Vermilion River Stewardship General Meeting, on 9 March 2016:
“We are very grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, KGHM International Inc. and Conservation Sudbury for supporting our organization and community in this important Project. The health of the Vermilion River is very important to the thousands of people who rely on it for their drinking water, recreation, and family enjoyment” said VRS Chair, Linda Heron.
In a rare occurrence, the Vermillion River Stewardship received all $103,000 it had asked for from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to fund a research project that will sample the water quality of the Vermillion River over a two-year period.
Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas, who has been a strong supporter for more testing of the Vermillion River, said it was the first time she has seen the Ontario Trillium Foundation hand out the full amount requested by a non-profit organization.
The grant will allow Vermillion River Stewardship to pay two technicians from Conservation Sudbury, who will work with a volunteer to test and analyze the full length of the river. Read more →
A BIG THANK YOU to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for awarding Vermilion River Stewardship a $103,200 grant to undertake the Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project. This 2 year study is to characterize the lower Vermilion River to identify all negative inputs affecting water quality and water quantity, and to ultimately recommend a course of action to protect and restore water quality on the Vermilion River system. The study will start in the Spring of this year and will be completed by the end of 2014, with a Report coming out early in 2015.
Our Project partners are Ontario Trillium Foundation, Conservation Sudbury, Beaver Lake Sports and Cultural Club and Penage Road Community Centre. Vermillion River Stewardship looks forward to working with our partners on this very significant and important project.