Welcome to the April edition of The Ripple Effect! Each month, we host Water Testing Weekend. On Water Testing Weekend (the last Sunday of every month), we encourage you to get out and test your local waterway (alternative testing days as Saturday and Monday). As part of these water testing celebrations, we host water testing and stewardship activities, with interviews with experts and community members. The Ripple Effect will be shared on the Friday of testing weekends.
When it comes to protecting waterways, community-based water monitoring is often just one piece of an incredible ecosystem of actions. So, we’ve recruited experts to help us all deepen our knowledge and bring us new ideas. They’re community champions, data experts, scientists, knowledge holders, and more. Join us as we learn from these experts and deepen our knowledge of the monitoring ecosystem!
Introducing… Annie Michaud
Science communications coordinator, Graham, and Water Rangers’ Director, Gabrielle, traveled to Niagara College to interview this month’s expert and changemaker: Annie Michaud. Annie Michaud is a leader in all things Lake Erie and an expert on what is needed to protect and restore this important watershed. Gabi and Graham couldn’t have been more excited to spend time with her on a cold and rainy April morning, talking watershed health and conducting field tests at the College’s wetlands.
Niagara College’s stunning lagoons were once wastewater treatment ponds. Thanks to the College’s initiative in the late 1990s the ponds were repurposed. Now a thriving wetland ecosystem, it serves as a living lab for Niagara College’s renowned environmental programs. This place embodies what big dreams for water restoration are all about, and it was the perfect place to get to know Annie and her impactful work for Lake Erie.
A Professor at Niagara College, a Senior Water Resources Engineer, and one of the founding members of Niagara Coastal, Michaud’s list of accomplishments are long. She is one of the Lake Erie watershed’s most passionate champions. She is eager to share that passion, her extensive knowledge of water science and how it can be applied to helping the lake she calls home.
Collaborative action and community based water monitoring for Lake Erie
Annie loves Lake Erie. Much of her work is focused on the lake and the many other waterbodies in its watershed. She often collaborates with different groups and members of the public, such as with her work with Niagara Coastal. While Michaud teaches a variety of subjects ranging from soils to groundwater and surface water, her favourite is water quality and watershed monitoring. She estimates she’s taught between 100-200 students per year over the last decade.
Lake Erie’s watershed suffers from a number of complex challenges, including climate change, erosion, poor water quality, elevated nutrient levels, nuisance algae, and invasive species. Data is needed to fill information gaps. Michaud champions water monitoring as crucial in understanding and addressing the watershed’s many problems. She sees community based water monitoring (CBWM) as playing a big role in gathering data and at the same time, connecting people to the water resources around them.
Niagara Coastal (formerly the Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative) is a forum for local stakeholders to work together to improve the resiliency of the Lake Erie shoreline. Niagara Coastal members work collaboratively to address issues impacting the coastline. Preserving, restoring, and enhancing Lake Erie’s coastline is the focus of their work. Each collaborative member brings something different to this effort.
Annie truly embodies the ripple effect. Her expertise and passion for her watershed, her legacy as a teacher, and her efforts to champion collaborative action with the community to address Lake Erie’s issues all help engage and motivate people for water.
“I want people to get excited about water. It’s something that I think is contagious and that’s what I want to share with people.”
Want to help? Get involved with Lake Erie
Interested in water testing, too?
Visit our online store to check out what kind of water testing kits we have available for purchase.
Learn about the Water Rangers’ Lake Erie Guardians
Learn about VAST, the Visual Assessment Survey Tool developed as collaborative initiative from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Niagara College, and Niagara Coastal.
Contact our Ontario Water Monitoring Coordinator, Freddy Liu!
Read the first episode of the Ripple Effect on the River Wey Trust
Each month for the entire testing season, we’ll talk to an expert about their work. March’s expert was the River Wey Trust!
Written by: Kat Kavanagh
Est. reading time: 9 minutes
Thank you to the National Research Council for helping to fund Water Testing Weekends and this expert series.