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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN the longitudinal profile is steep then there will be a more rapid response on the hydrograph. Overtime, sediment deposited on the bed may change this profile and drain maintenance would be required to remove the sediment in order to have the proper longitudinal profile. Relatively deep, unconsolidated sediment was identified at various field sites. 5. Vegetation in and along the channel bed will influence how quickly the water moves through the channel. Some instream vegetation growth and debris jams were noted at field sites, but this variable will depend on drain maintenance schedules. The majority of the field sites visited during the summer 2008 had some water present in the channel but they were classified as having low to no flow. Algae and turbid water were identified at numerous sites during that time period as well (Van Riezen 2010). Water Quality NPCA Water Quality Monitoring Program The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) has established a set of Provincial Water Quality Objectives (PWQO) that are intended to be used to guide respective agencies when making water quality management decisions. The surface water quality management goal is “To ensure that the surface waters of the province are of a quality which is satisfactory for aquatic life and recreation” [MOE 1994 (Section 3.1)]. Table 7 summarizes indicator parameters that are the most useful in assessing relative stream water quality. They include: total phosphorus, nitrate, copper, lead, zinc, Escherichia coli, chloride, suspended solids and benthic invertebrates (NPCA 2010). These parameters are useful indicators but other non-chemical factors such as for example, loss of habitat, sedimentation, and indigenous species must also be considered when assessing ecosystem health. In the Lake Erie North Shore study area, the NPCA monitors surface water quality at seven stations along the north shore of Lake Erie through the collection of monthly grab samples (Figures 16a and 16b). All stations are located at the watershed outlets to capture the cumulative water quality impacts for their respective drainage areas, except for the station located at the Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area; this is a large abandoned quarry owned by the NPCA. Sampling was initiated in April of 2007 and samples are collected on a monthly basis during the ice-free season and analyzed for several parameters including nutrients, metals, bacteria, suspended solids, and general chemistry. The Water Quality Index (WQI) is used by the NPCA to summarize water quality data collected from NPCA surface water quality monitoring stations for reporting and communication purposes. The WQI was developed by a sub-committee established under the Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Water Quality Guidelines Task Group to provide a convenient means of summarizing complex water 88

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN quality information and communicating it to the public (CCME 2001). The index produces a number between 0 and 100 which represents the worst and best water quality, respectively. These numbers are divided into five descriptive categories that range from poor to excellent. Based on the results of the Water Quality Index (WQI), two of seven Lake Erie tributary stations in the study area are rated as having poor water quality, 3 stations are rated as marginal, station PA001 is rated as fair, and station WW001 is rated as good (Table 8). Water quality is negatively impacted by high concentrations of total phosphorus. Mean total phosphorus concentrations exceed the provincial objective of 0.03mg/L at all stations, particularly at Wignell Drain station WD001 and Casey Drain station CD001. Sources of phosphorus at these stations include runoff from urban and agricultural land use, sewage discharges, and soil erosion. Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area station WW001 has the lowest mean total phosphorus concentration of all stations monitored in 2009 (NPCA 2010). and agricultural land use (NPCA 2010). Elevated concentrations of E. coli are frequently observed at most stations. Sources of E. coli at these stations include sewage discharges, animal waste, and runoff from urban Water quality at Eagle Marsh Drain station EM001 and Wignell Drain station WD001 is influenced by discharge from bedrock quarries located upstream. Chloride concentrations frequently exceed the guideline for irrigation quality at station EM001; however, this is largely attributed to groundwater input. Other potential sources of chloride include road salt applied for de-icing and sewage discharges (NPCA 2010). Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area station WW001 has achieved the highest water quality index rating for the second year in a row. Water quality at this station is improved by inflow from groundwater and Lake Erie (NPCA 2010). Table 7: Water Quality Parameters (as modified from NPCA 2010) Category Indicator Objective Reference Parameter Nutrients Total Phosphorus 0.03 mg/L PWQO (MOE 1994) Nutrients Nitrate 13 mg/L CWQG (CCME 2007) Metals Copper 0.005 mg/L PWQO (MOE 1994) Metals Lead 0.005 mg/L PWQO (MOE 1994) Metals Zinc 0.02 mg/L PWQO (MOE 1994) Microbiological Escherichia coli 100 counts/100mL PWQO (MOE 1994) Other Chloride 100 mg/L CWQG (CCME 2005) Other Suspended Solids 25 mg/L BC MOE (2001) Biological Benthic Invertebrates Unimpaired BioMAP (Griffiths 1999) 89

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