The Kawartha Conservation Authority is responsible for monitoring the health of waterways and watersheds in the Kawartha region of Southern Ontario. For two summers I participated in assessing watershed health from headwater streams down to the largest wadeable main stem in several river systems. Complete assessments included habitat assessment using the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol, benthic invertebrate surveys using the Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network protocols, and fish surveys using backpack electrofishing, hoop nets, and seine nets.
The data we collected feeds into watershed management plans through which Conservation Authorities can identify the overall status of a watershed and threats to environmental integrity. Continued monitoring of stream habitats feeds back into management plans to mitigate threats and conserve sensitive areas.