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The data used in the grading for the 2013 Watershed Report Card was collected between 2007 and 2011 by Kawartha Conservation and partner agencies and groups.

Surface Water Quality

The two indicators included in the surface water quality grade are Total Phosphorus (TP) and Benthic Macroinvertebrates.

The grading structure for TP was changed from the 2008 report card based on Conservation Ontario’s guidelines and recommendations. Therefore, comparisons should only be made between Total Phosphorous values which will show any increase or decrease in Total Phosphorus over the last five years.

Permanent monitoring stations have not been established by Kawartha Conservation for Escherichia coli (E.coli) in the Kawartha Conservation watershed. As monitoring activities are expanded, a more detailed picture of E.coli conditions will emerge.

Total Phosphorus

The provincial water quality objective for TP in rivers and streams is 0.03 mg/L and 0.02 mg/L in lakes. These guidelines were set because levels higher than these guidelines provide conditions for nuisance algae and aquatic plant growth.

TP grades for rivers were calculated using the 75th percentile, and the 95th percentile for lakes, which is a standard method for eliminating extremely high values that could be caused by seasonal variation or other unknown factors.

Each subwatershed contains a number of water quality monitoring sites that were sampled a number of times. For each subwatershed, the data was combined to produce a single grade.

LAKES
TP (mg/L) Point Score
<0.010 5
0.011-0.020 4
0.021-0.030 3
0.031-0.060 2
>0.060 1

 

RIVERS
TP (mg/L) Point Score
<0.020 5
0.020-0.030 4
0.031-0.060 3
0.061-0.180 2
>0.180 1

 

Lakes and rivers were assigned a final grade using the chart below. Grades that combined point scores for lakes, rivers, or benthic macroinvertebrates (below), were averaged and assigned a grade using the same chart.

Final Score Final Grade
>4.49 A
3.5 to 4.4 B
2.5 to 3.4 C
1.5 to 2.4 D
<1.5 F
 
Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Benthic Macroinvertebrate grades were calculated using the New York State Family Biotic Index Tolerance Values. A final index value was determined for each site by assigning specific tolerance values to individual species found in each sample, and tallying the results. After calculating a final index value, a point score was determined based on Conservation Ontario guidelines. The final letter grade was based on the averaged point scores.

Family Biotic Index Water Quality Degree of Organic Pollution Point Score
0.00 to 3.75 Excellent Organic pollution unlikely 5
3.76 to 4.25 Very Good Possible slight organic pollution
4.26 to 5.00 Good Some organic pollution probably 4
5.01 to 5.75 Fair Fairly substantial pollution likely 3
5.76 to 6.50 Fairly Poor Substantial pollution likely 2
6.51 to 7.25 Poor Very substantial pollution likely 1
7.26 to 10.00 Very Poor Severe organic pollution likely

 

Monitoring stations have not been established for Benthic Macroinvertebrates in all subwatersheds.  As monitoring activities are expanded, a more detailed picture of Benthic Macroinvertebrate conditions will emerge.

Surface water quality data has been collected through the following:

  • Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (Ministry of the Environment)
  • Lake Partner Program (Ministry of the Environment), in collaboration with Kawartha Lake Stewards Association, Scugog Lake Stewards Inc.
  • Fleming College
  • Kawartha Water Watch
  • Kawartha Conservation monitoring network, with support from City of Kawartha Lakes and Durham Region

 

Forest Cover

Forest cover grades include forest cover, forest interior, and forested riparian zone (the transitional area between land and a body of water), and are based on Geographic Information Systems. When calculating grades for the 2013 report card, Ecological Land Classification (ELC) mapping from 2008 was used.

Changes in grading structure, the addition of forested riparian area, and updated mapping make comparisons between report cards difficult. Any comparisons should be between percent cover and not letter grades. Changes in percent cover could be a reflection of more up-to-date mapping and do not necessarily indicate an increase or decrease in natural cover.

After calculating the percentage of natural cover, point scores and grades were assigned based on Conservation Ontario guidelines (Table 3 below). The final letter grade was based on the average point scores of the three indicators (see Table 4 as an example).

% Forest Cover Score
>35.0 5
25.1 to 35.0 4
15.1 to 25.0 3
5.0 to 15.0 2
<5.0 1

 

% Forest Interior Score
>11.5 5
8.6 to 11.5 4
5.6 to 8.5 3
2.5 to 5.5 2
<2.5 1

 

% Forested Riparian Zone Score
>57.5 5
42.6 to 57.5 4
27.6 to 42.5 3
12.5 to 27.5 2
<12.5 1

The average of the three scores above is assigned a grade using the chart below.

Final Score Final Grade
>4.49 A
3.5 to 4.4 B
2.5 to 3.4 C
1.5 to 2.4 D
<1.5 F

 

Example Subwatershed
  Score Grade
Forest Cover 4 B
Forest Interior 2 D
Forested Riparian Zone 4 B
Average 3.3 C

 

Wetland Conditions

The wetland grades were calculated by determining the corresponding point score based on the percent cover.

% Wetland Cover Point Score Grade
>11.5 5 A
8.6 to 11.5 4 B
5.6 to 8.5 3 C
2.5 to 5.5 2 D
<2.5 1 F

 

Groundwater Quality

Groundwater data used for this report card was obtained through the Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network (PGMN). Kawartha Conservation has nine contributing wells (plus two new wells drilled in 2012). Since 2000, between three and eight water quality samples have been taken from each of these wells. The indicators used in calculating the groundwater quality grade are Nitrate + Nitrite, and Chloride.

Nitrate + Nitrite

All well sites were assigned to the subwatershed in which they were located, and the 75th percentile for Nitrate + Nitrite results was calculated for each well separately. Once the 75th percentile had been calculated, a point score was assigned based on Conservation Ontario guidelines. Each well was graded separately, and no averages were taken between wells in the same subwatershed.

Chloride

All well sites were assigned to the subwatershed in which they were located, and the 75th percentile for Chloride results was calculated for each well separately. Once the 75th percentile had been calculated, a point score was assigned based on Conservation Ontario guidelines.

The final letter grade was based on the averaged point scores from the two indicators for each well individually.

Nitrate+Nitrite (mg/L) Water Quality Score
0 to 2.5 Excellent 5
2.6 to 5.0 Good 4
5.1 to 7.5 Fair 3
7.6 to 10.0 Poor 2
>10.0 Very Poor 1

 

Chloride (mg/L) Water Quality Score
0-62.5 Excellent 5
62.6-125.0 Good 4
125.1-187.5 Fair 3
187.6-250.0 Poor 2
>250.0 Very Poor 1

The average of the two scores above is assigned a grade using the chart below.

Final Score Final Grade
>4.49 A
3.5 to 4.4 B
2.5 to 3.4 C
1.5 to 2.4 D
<1.5 F

 

Groundwater quality results from individual wells do not represent groundwater quality across the subwatersheds; but, rather, the water quality within the aquifer in which the well is located. Grades for this report were for chemical data only and do not include any bacteriological data.

An aquifer is an area underground where water is held between or within layers of permeable rock or soil. Aquifers vary in size, depth, and type, and play an important role in maintaining flow in rivers and streams, as well as providing water to wells. Because all aquifers vary, one cannot be used to grade groundwater quality within a subwatershed. Groundwater quality can vary significantly based on the type of well (dug or drilled) as well as the type of aquifer. Different soil types filter water and contaminants at different rates.

Due to the lack of available long term groundwater quality data from these wells, only a statement of current conditions can be made. After several more years of data collection, groundwater quality trends can be interpreted and discussed in detail.

Programs and Services

water-over-road

 Flood Forecasting and Warning

24/7 monitoring and warning about the potential for flooding

 

Sturgeon Lake shoreline

 Lake and Environmental Management Planning

Science-based plans for protecting lakes and watersheds

 

Lindsay water tower

 Drinking Water Source Protection

Maintaining a clean supply of water to municipal drinking water systems

 

Monitoring water flow

 Watershed Monitoring

Scientific research and monitoring of water quality and quantity, and related natural features

 

2013 Watershed Report Card

 Watershed Report Cards

Assessments of watershed health based on various environmental indicators