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Watershed monitoring discussed at Island water conference

Water will be the topic of discussion at a conference hosted by the Regional District of Nanaimo at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre Friday (March 21).

The aim of the Nanaimo Water Day Symposium is to discuss a number of projects that have been taking place in the region, said Mike Donnelly, regional district manager of water services.

“The main thrust of that day is the reporting out by the Geological Survey of Canada on the Nanaimo lowlands project ... there was a lot of project work done basically from the Englishman River up to Bowser/Deep Bay that looked at the geology and the aquifers and the interaction between surface water and those aquifers,” said Donnelly.

Another initiative that will be discussed is the Community Watershed Monitoring Program, a partnership between the regional district, the Ministry of Environment and streamkeeper groups from Nile Creek near Bowser all the way to Nanaimo River.

“What that program does is the volunteer groups they go out ... there are five visits they do in the summer and five visits to the stream they do in the winter, the first flush, the first storms, and they collect data – conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature, and they take all that data,” said Donnelly.

The regional district provides equipment, the groups collects the data and the Ministry of Environment assess the data and then posts it.

Donnelly said the streamkeeper groups provide good information, which has allowed for a good view on the health of rivers now and how it will change over time.

The symposium will also spotlight partnerships in the regional district emerging from the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program, which the regional district’s municipalities and electoral areas work together to fund. Donnelly said it has been in place since 2008 and the primary goal is to protect the water resource for the growing region.

Other presenters include people from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the POLIS Water Project.

The water day symposium takes place between 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is a free event. For more information call 250-390-6560 or go to www.rdnwaterbudget.ca/nanaimo-water-day.

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