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Alberta Water Quality Awareness Day (6/6/2019)

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The Basics:
Event Type:Learn
Event Location: Larch Sanctuary
Date(s) & Time:Thu, Jun 6 2019  7:00 PM
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Jun 6 2019 5:45:00 PM
Event Duration:1-2 hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Event Coordinator(s): Ryan
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Member Cost:Voluntary Donation Only (See Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 18 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:3
Minimum Group Size:10
Number Registered So Far: 3 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Alberta Water Quality Awareness (AWQA) Day is a province-wide initiative intended to further public awareness and understanding of water quality and watershed health, facilitated through hands-on water quality testing. The AWQA Day program is a citizen science project that is modeled after World Water Monitoring Day, a successful global program that promotes watershed protection through public stewardship.

This event is scheduled for June 6th, which is (almost) the official date of Alberta Water Quality Awareness Day (the actual date is June 5th). I have access to two AWQA Day Kits, and group members will be able to take turns carrying out sampling during the event.

After the event is completed, I will upload the results that are obtained from our water surveys to the Alberta Water Quality Awareness Day website, and/or to the World Water Monitoring Day website.

Plan: We will meet at the Larch Sanctuary (also known as the MacTaggart Nature Sanctuary). I have chosen to host this event at the Larch Sanctuary because it contains a mixture of different types water bodies, including the faster moving Whitemud and Blackmud Creeks, as well as small, stagnant oxbow lake. We will discover as a group whether these differences in the water flow have an impact on the water quality.

When we meet, we will discuss as a group what the best strategy is for carrying out the water sampling. Depending on the groups preferences, we might remain in the Larch Sanctuary for the entire activity, or we might consider meeting also visiting other locations where we can sample other water bodies (e.g. we could potentially also go to Terwillegar Park to sample the North Saskatchewan River). I am also open to organizing a follow-up event, which would allow us to investigate whether the testing results vary at different times of the year.

I have outlined below the four parameters that we will be testing for.

Water Testing: We will be carrying out four tests. The links below lead to short Youtube videos that discuss each test. These videos were prepared for the World Water Monitoring Challenge, on which the AWQA Day Test Kits are based.

  • Turbidity - turbidity is a measure of how clear a water sample is. The turbidity of water varies depending on the amount of suspended material in a water body (i.e. silt, sediment, algae, etc.). We will be using a simple Secchi disk method to measure turbidity.
  • Water Temperature - the water temperature influences a number of other parameters, including the amount of oxygen in the water (cold water holds more oxygen). We will be measuring the water temperature using a thermometer.
  • Dissolved oxygen - the dissolved oxygen content of water is important because it determines the amount of oxygen that is available for aquatic plants and animals. Tablets are provided in the kit to carry out a simple chemical test of the dissolved oxygen content.
  • pH - pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is, and it is measured on a scale from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most basic). The pH of water is influenced by factors such as the type of rocks and soil in an area, and also can be influenced by factors such as fertilizers, chemical spills, urban runoff and acid rain. Most waterbodies in Alberta have a pH between 6.5-9.5. Tablets are provided in the kit to carry out pH measurements using a chemical test.

What to bring: I recommend bringing footwear that is waterproof because we will be approaching the edges of the water bodies to carry out sampling.

It is recommended in the kit instructions that participants wear clean latex/nitrile gloves while carrying out water sampling.

This is optional, but if we can provide GPS coordinates when we collect our samples, then this information may also be useful to organizations that will use our measurements as they monitor the health of Alberta's lakes and rivers.

Required Items to Bring:
Good hiking footwear (we may approach the edge of streams and ponds, so waterproof footwear is recommended)
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
GPS unit
Pen or pencil and small notepad
Disposable gloves
Hiking poles

How to Get There:
Event Directions:If you're coming from the west, take Whitemud to Terwillegar Drive. From Terwillegar, turn left onto Rabbit Hill Road, then left on 23rd Avenue. You will go down a hill with a bridge at the bottom. The parking lot is at the end of the bridge on the right-hand side. If you're coming from the east, you might instead want to come down 119th street and turn right on 23rd. When you come down the hill towards the bridge, you will not be able to turn into the parking lot heading west - you have to go up the hill, find a place to turn around, then return down the hill to find the parking lot on the right.


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- Please scroll through and read the entire online waiver when you sign up.
- Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.

Voluntary Donation:What is this?)
Suggested donation amount for this event is: $2.00/Person.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!

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