What and why we monitor...

WATERS

Everyday most of us are in direct contact with our waters, either through our drinking water or in direct contact for work, recreational, or ceremonial purposes.  Surface waters or watercourses can contain contaminants, bacterias, and pathogens from run offs from the land and non-point sources of pollution. With more residents, stakeholders, and changes to industrial practices it is important to ensure that the Tabusintac River and its watercourses remain healthy for all.
 
TWA with its partners implement methodologies that are practiced provincially, nationally and worldwide so that data can be analyzed and compared to ensure healthy waters within the Tabusintac Watershed.  Water quality compared and analyzed are compared to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CMEE) and Health Canada guidelines.

There are many variables and factors that affect the water quality within the Tabusintac River but one that we don't have much control over is the weather, groundwater, and bedrock of the area that directly affects the water quality.  
 
Temperatures are affected by many factors but are mainly due weather that greatly affects water quality within the watershed.  


TEMPERATURES (measured in degrees Celsius) vary in the Tabusintac watershed. Water temperatures within the watercourses range from lower temperatures from freezing at 0 to 8 degrees, mid range from 8 to 15 degrees; warm temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees; and extreme temperatures above 20 degrees.  Warmer the water temperature-the more chances for bacteria and pathogens to thrive that can directly affect our health and aquatic life.  The temperatures of the watercourses will affects the aquatic life rate of their metabolic activities.  Temperature triggers migration and spawning for many species. Spawning and embryo development stages of all fish species are the most sensitive to temperature conditions and changes.  Salmonoids (salmon and trout) require water temperatures between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius.   

Temperature affects the chemistry of the water as well by increasing and decreasing metals and oxygen that is needed for aquatic life. 



DISSOLVED OXYGEN (DO) is the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water.  DO is measured in parts per million or mg/l.  The amount of oxygen in the water depends on the water temperatures, biological processes (plant and algae growth), and turbulence. 

Guidelines for aquatic life are: 
       For warm water biota; early life stages -6.0 ppm; other life stages- 5.5 ppm
       For cold water biota; early life stages- 9.5 ppm; other life stages- 6.5 ppm

Prolonged exposure to low DO conditions will result in suffocation.















Bacterial sampling is conducted at sampling sites within the Tabusintac watershed periodically and sent to RPC Lab's in Fredericton to be analyzed for Escherichia coli (E. Coli) in freshwaters and Enterococcus in marine waters.  
 
Both bacteria are specific to humans and other warm-blooded animals.  E. coli and enterococcus are used as indicators of fecal contamination.  Presence of these bacterias do not always represent a health hazard; but are regarded as an indicator of the possible presence of disease causing microorganisms that originate in the digestive tracts.  High levels indicate a possible health risk.

E. coli and enterococcus may enter a watercourse directly from sewage discharge, run off from land, from malfunctioning septic systems, pets, and wildlife.



 

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Shellfish harvesting is closed when E. Coli water samples are above 14 MPN / 100 ml of sampled water.

EelGrass

Eelgrass also know too many as seaweed is a very important part of the ecosystem within the the Tabusintac watershed. The TWA with its partners monitors eelgrass sites every year. We go back to the same site and we compare data from previous years to see if there are differences in the amount of eelgrass and its growth. We dissect the plant and separate the root from the plant. We weigh each indivual part so we can compare it to previous years.

Eelgrass of Tabusintac

 

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Eelgrass habitats help protect nursery ground for fin fish and shellfish, food source for birds and aquatic life, and spawning nurseries.  By trapping sediment, stabilizing the substrate, and reducing the force of wave energy.  Eelgrass beds also reduce coastal erosion. Eelgrass grows submerged or partially floating in the waters. Eelgrass habitats also produces food and oxygen, filters polluted runoff and improves water quality. Many people are unaware of the importance this plant plays in the environment. It has resulted in a significant degradation due to human impacts such as urban development, dredging, pollution, fisheries, aquaculture, and sediment runoff. 

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Below is a case study that was conducted within the Tabusintac Bay to gain a better understanding of the eelgrass beds densities and locations.

For a better understanding of environmental factors that affects eelgrass within our region; please refer to the report below.