Saugeen Conservation has a biological monitoring program for the Saugeen watershed. The goal of the program is to assess aquatic ecosystems using benthic macroinvertebrates or aquatic organisms as indicators of water quality.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are large, bottom dwelling insects such as crustaceans, worms, mollusks and related organisms that live in the water. They are good indicators of water quality as they respond to changes in water quality (e.g., water pollution), after a relatively short exposure. Sampling of macroinvertebrates is being conducted using the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network protocol.
Saugeen Conservation in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment has completed a watershed-scale stream bioassessment using the 'Reference Condition Approach'. This is the first study of its kind in Ontario. Based on our random biomonitoring survey it is concluded that 76% of streams sampled are in reference condition (e.g., minimally disturbed) and stream sites failing to meet the parameters for reference condition were concentrated in the western and southern areas of the watershed which appear to correspond with agricultural intensity.
The results of this assessment were presented at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in November of 2011. To view this presentation, click here.