Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Water Quality in Muskoka

The wetlands, lakes, and rivers of Muskoka are beautiful. Part of what makes them so great is that they are some of the cleanest in the world. As Muskokans, we use them for recreation, fishing, and drinking. We aren't the only beings that use them though; they are vital to the ecosystems of the area. Think of loons, turtles, fish, birds, amphibians, and mammals big, medium, and small who all rely on Muskoka's water.
There are some key organizations and people doing their part to keep Muskoka's water clean. This summer I am volunteering with the Muskoka Lakes Association Water Quality Initiative. The WQI studies how human land-based activities effect the quality of nearshore zone surface water. My job is the analyse the samples that my counterparts collect and report on them. This week, I had a special helper. Drew had helped to collect the samples and wanted to see the next step.

{Drew and I take a look at the coli plates in the incubator. They sepnd 24 hours there before analysis. There is one plate for each of the 6 sample locations from one area of the lake}

{Part of the analysis includes checking for e-coli using a uv light. The e-coli are florescent and we count how many wells in the plate are glowing}

{We also count how many wells have turned blue. This indicates how many coliform are present in that particular sample}

{We record the data and submit it to MLA in order to monitor long term trends. Included in the program is collecting and analysis of e-coli, total coliform levels, total phosphorus concentration, turbidity, and temperature of the lakes}

There are other very comprehensive programs and resources related to water in Muskoka:

How are you becoming engaged in water quality issues in Muskoka?

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