Rivers need check-ups, too. Here’s what that looks like in real life.

The following blog post is adapted from one of The River Institute’s Facebook posts on the same topic. Check out their Facebook Page for more updates! 

Teamwork makes the dream work

This past July, Scientists from The River Institute took part in a unique water sampling endeavour in collaboration with the L’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. A research vessel from UQTR called “the Lampsilis” collected water samples starting from Lake Ontario, and then headed down the St. Lawrence all the way to Cacouna, QC. 

The Lampsilis, a research vessel used to study the St. Lawrence River
All pictures provided by Stephany Hildebrand from the River Institute. Thanks for sharing, Stephany!

River Institute scientists provided near shore water samples to the Lampsilis for three days between Kingston and Valleyfield, QC. The team included a scientist from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, youth from the River Institute’s Junior Scientist camp, and of course scientists from UQTR and the River Institute. 

Researchers taking samples and conducting tests on the St. Lawrence River

What kind of data was collected?

To measure the influence of anthropogenic inputs on the St. Lawrence, UQTR analysed all kinds of water quality parameters. Samples were taken from the different water masses, near tributaries and urban areas (wastewater treatment plants) to give scientists a fuller picture when conducting their analyses. 

Measuring secchi depth on the shore of the St. Lawrence River

At each site, scientists from the River Institute also used a Water Rangers testkit to sample water quality! The River Institute started using Water Rangers’ kits in 2019, and has collected more than 40 Water Rangers samples so far. While sampling with the Water Rangers kits, the team discovered that it was easier to compare the DO samples when they did it against a white paper. We’ll be sharing that with other testers this upcoming season, no doubt! 

Water Rangers' testkit on the shore of the St. Lawrence River

Keep an eye out for more updates from The River Institute!

Overall, the experience was exhilarating as the team followed the Lampsilis ship along its route on the Upper St. Lawrence. The data collected as part of this project will be used to look at the impact of anthropogenic inputs, with results being expected in the fall of 2023. For more updates on the work that The River Institute is doing, visit their website or follow them on social media!

Water sampling along the St. Lawrence River

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Facebook: @StLawrenceRiverInstitute

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