Slocan River near Shoreacres.

Streamkeepers concerned about Slocan River health

A recent report issued by Slocan River Streamkeepers raises concern about the state of the local watershed.

A report issued by Slocan River Streamkeepers raises concern about the state of the local watershed.

Ongoing monitoring of the health and diversity of microscopic life forms in the Slocan River illustrates that benthic invertebrates are showing symptoms that need to be noted and further investigated, said Jennifer Yeow, Streamkeepers biologist.

She explained these tiny insects that live at the bottom of the river are a good indicator of overall stream health. Three stations on the Slocan River were monitored for about five years — some others were sampled once.

“The results showed that there was potential stress meaning that there are some impacts on water quality,” Yeow told 103.5 the Bridge. “Some years, it looked okay. Other years there was potential stress. One year — 2009, just downstream from the town of Slocan it registered severely stressed… We don’t know why but we’re investigating.”

At that same site, there are many organisms missing that are found in other locations, said Yeow.

Further samples have recently been taken for comparison. Factors contributing to stress on microorganisms include water temperature, chemical contamination and heavy metals from mining in sediment.

“It’s hard to say,” said Yeow. Sediment sampling is planned.

Sites sampled include Koch, Bonanza, Wilson, Winlaw, Carpenter and Goose creeks as well as sites along the Slocan River, near Nixon Island and on Kootenay River near Shoreacres.

While data has been collected since 2005, prior to the jet fuel spill into Lemon Creek this past summer; the accident did shine a light on the importance of healthy waterways.

In addition to keeping an eye on benthic invertebrates, Streamkeepers has been taking monthly water quality samples for five years. Yeow says at the end of September samples collected near Shoreacres showed “unusually high levels of bicarbonate and alkalinity.”

“In October, it seems to go back to normal. So we can infer that for at least a month after the spill, the water chemistry in the Slocan River was affected,” she said.

Extra samples were taken because of the spill including above and below the accident site as well as in the wetlands and side channels below Lemon Creek.

The invertebrate study also provides important information in the study of fish populations on the Slocan River. Yeow said the report represents part of the complex picture that is river health. More reaserch is invaluable.

“We start doing these kinds of studies and it creates more questions than it answers,” said Yeow.

“The site at Slocan is an example. When you see something like a severely stressed site… then you are obliged to follow up on it to find out why you are seeing these kinds of things.”

Streamkeepers’ watershed monitoring has been done by trained community groups since the late 1990s and is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust.

 

 

Just Posted

Cardiac arrest survivor saved by passerby

People who know CPR can now register with a new phone app to notify them of nearby emergencies

Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

The 10-mile diet all in one place

Order local food from the comfort of your couch.

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

LETTER: Concern for fossil fuel subsidies

From reader Marylee Banyard

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Most Read