The RVCA has gathered information on surface
water quality for over 37 years. Today, the RVCA operates four water quality monitoring programs:
- Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (Water Chemistry)
- RVCA Baseline Monitoring Program (Water Chemistry)
- Watershed Watch (Water Chemistry)
- Benthic Invertebrate Sampling (Chemical/Physical Indicators)
The RVCA continues to collect samples on the Rideau River and its major tributaries in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OMOE).
In 1997, the Conservation Authority began sampling streams for benthic macroinvertebrates (the bugs that live in the streams). The analysis of what actually lives in the streams is an excellent complement to chemical analysis of the stream waters. It gives a longer term look at what creatures the stream can support. The more varied and numerous the macroinvertebrates, the better the water quality. In 2003, the Ontario Conservation Authorities in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment created the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN). As the OBBN is developed, it, along with the PWQMN, will provide a good general look at the quality of the surface waters of Ontario.
In addition to the data from the PWQMN sites, Conservation Authority staff have been doing additional baseline water chemistry monitoring at several locations on major and minor tributaries of the Rideau for a number of years. Recently an arrangement was made whereby staff of the City of Ottawa would do sampling within the city boundaries, the RVCA outside and the data will be shared in collaborative reporting.
In 2001, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority initiated the Watershed Watch program. This program samples watershed lakes on a five year basis in cooperation with members of lake associations.
Data from all of the sites will give us a more detailed picture of the aquatic environment in the Rideau Valley.