Watershed report shows more information needed
A report detailing the water quality of the Red Deer River watershed has found that while there is adequate data to measure water quality at some points in the river, other points need more information for conclusions to be drawn.
The ‘Draft Site Specific Water Quality Objectives for the Red Deer River Basin with emphasis on the Mainstem’ report, prepared by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance and released this month, found that data gaps at Sundre, west of Bowden and at some tributaries were too severe to develop water quality objectives now and that more data is needed.
The report, prepared by Dr. Anne-Marie Anderson, noted that at least five years of sampling are needed in these locations to gain sufficient information to make recommendations.
The report also noted that long-term sampling stations need to be established at Sundre and west of Bowden for accurate information to be obtained, and that Alberta Environment is intending to begin sampling at Sundre later this fall.
“Water quality information in the upper reaches was less available than it was downstream of the established monitoring stations,” said Gerard Aldridge, executive director of the Red Deer Watershed Alliance.
The report also found that major tributaries need to be sampled at their mouths to get accurate data in order to make recommendations on monitoring objectives.
Some of the data that needs to be assembled includes water quality, sediment quality, and biological data for rivers and tributaries, plus all data flow for rivers.
An inventory of all municipal, industrial and storm water points also needs to be conducted, plus identification of various land-uses in the basin.
The report also indicates that fecal coliform, E. coli, total nitrogen, ammonia, total dissolved solids and dissolved oxygen levels show deteriorating trends or exceed guidelines at one or more monitoring sites.
Work on the technical report, which will form one aspect of an Integrated Watershed Management Plan, started late last year and was completed in late July, following stakeholder consultation in the spring.