In 2013, SEA teamed up with St. Mary’s University Geography Department to take part in the Community-University Research Alliance_H20 Project (CURA_H2O). In 2013, we ran it successfully as a pilot in the Montague-Valleyfield Watershed (MVW) establishing 4 sites on the Montague River and 5 sites on the Valleyfield River. The MVW covers an area of approximately 197 square kilometers and is the largest single watershed on PEI. In 2014, we added an additional 14 sites across four new watersheds for a total of 23 sites. The goals of the project are:
- To implement a standardized, citizen-led water quality monitoring program;
- To offer experiential learning and training opportunities to interested citizens and students through an online-based training program;
- To facilitate the integration of data into governmental watershed management; and
- To provide project guidance through academic research.
Too often volunteers and community-based organizations work hard to collect data which might not otherwise be considered usable or valid outside of their own organization – the integration and use of this data by resource managers and decision makers remains limited. One of the most prevalent challenges in integrating environmental data gathered by volunteers is a lack of consistency in the collection methods, which results in uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the data. The CURA_H20 program addresses this challenge by offering a Water Quality Monitoring Certification Course accompanied by a Wet-Pro (TM) toolkit which provides all the equipment necessary to conduct the methods taught in the course.
The quality of water within Prince Edward Island’s streams is of most importance to the well-being of many species utilizing those streams. Over the past couple of years, SEA has been using a YSI meter to collect data in a number of streams which are then entered into on online database managed by St. Mary’s University. The aim of collecting this data is to create a water quality baseline to monitor trends and detect changes in water chemistry.
INSERT MAP OF SITES – also link to CURA_H20 site.