Watershed Report Cards
Watershed report cards are a successful way to deliver a vast amount of technical information in a readily understandable and interesting way. They help to:
- benchmark conditions
- measure environmental change
- identify issues and target watershed programs
- track progress of actions
- inform decision makers and others
2018 Watershed Report Card - March 22, 2018
A Watershed Report Card for the region, released today by the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority, tells us that overall, we’re in good shape with room for improvement in a few subwatersheds.
While grades varied throughout the 20 subwatersheds that fall within NBMCA’s jurisdiction, overall groundwater quality, stream water quality and forest conditions scored an “A”. Wetland cover ranked a “B” and lake quality ranked a B+.
“Overall the watershed is in good shape based on the data currently available. These key environmental indicators are helping NBMCA and our partners target our watershed management programs, focus and refine our monitoring efforts, and measure environmental change,” said Brian Tayler, NBMCA’s CAO.
The scores were calculated in each category based on guidelines produced, reviewed and updated every five years by a committee comprised of Ontario’s conservation authorities, Conservation Ontario and some provincial representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Nitrate, nitrite and chloride concentrations were measured at least twice in wells located in four sub watersheds to determine the groundwater grade. Very low concentrations, indicative of high water quality, were measured at all the wells.
Water quality grades in streams were based on total phosphorus (TP) concentration measured regularly at one or more sites in 10 subwatersheds. The overall grade of "A" represents a weighted average. While five of the measured subwatersheds were good or excellent, four scored a "C".
Phosphorus levels in 11 area lakes were good or excellent with the exception of Wasi Lake where phosphorus levels resulted in a “fair” ranking.
Improved accuracy in data and mapping provided a more accurate measurement of wetlands and forest conditions for the 2018 report card, resulting in a number of subwatershed grade improvements.
NBMCA’s watershed scored an "A" in forest conditions, with 84 per cent of the land covered in forest.
The grades typically decline around urban areas because of reduced natural vegetation and increased paved surfaces.
There are 27,000 hectares of wetlands within our watershed area, covering about 10% of the land. Wetland area in the subwatersheds range from a high of 36% in Jessups Creek subwatershed to a low of 5% in the Mattawa River subwatershed. High forest cover generally accounts for the subwatersheds with lower wetland cover scores.
To learn more about the ecosystem health of the North Bay-Mattawa watershed and what individuals can do to help improve grades, the report card can be viewed online at the link at right.
For more information about Conservation Ontario’s watershed check-up initiative and the health of watersheds throughout the province, visit www.watershedcheckup.ca.