Annapolis River GuardiansEntry ID: gomc_50
Abstract: What have the River Guardians found from the data?
In general, the Annapolis River is quite healthy. The most obvious
environmental concern is the presence of fecal coliform bacteria which could
indicate the presence of harmful bacteria and viruses. The SPM are relatively
low meaning that the water is quite clear. pH (a measure of ... acidity), is
relatively good due to geological and ground water characteristics. Dissolved
oxygen in the river has been consistently high, however, there are times when
it has dropped to unacceptable levels. The Annapolis River Guardians are the
volunteers that make the program work. They are members of the communities
within the Annapolis River Watershed who are interested in the quality of their
environment. Their ranks include engineers, business people, homemakers,
craftsmen, teachers and students. Annapolis River and it's Tributaries.
What are the objectives of the Annapolis River Guardians Project?
There are four main objectives:
-To establish and support a regular observation system which will provide an
early warning of environmental problems;
-To provide a long term record of the river's health;
-To develop interest in the Annapolis River and community stewardship to ensure
a viable resource for future generations; and
-To provide a knowledgeable group of local individuals who can promote the
preservation, rehabilitation, and use of these estuarine resources in the
The parameters monitored by the Annapolis River Guardians have varied
throughout the years. The following parameters have been monitored continuously
since the start of the program: fecal coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, air
and water temperature, and weather conditions. Additional parameters that have
been sampled periodically include: nitrate, chlorophyll a, chloride, sulphate,
pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity, total suspended solids,
colour and transparency. Sampling takes place from April to December. During
January through March, sampling is discontinued due to freeze up.
Purpose: The data collected by the River Guardians establishes an overview of
the river's health and identifies key environmental problems within the
Annapolis River and its tributaries.
Sponsor: During the first two years funding was received from the Environmental
Partners Fund. The program now gains support from sponsors such as Farmers
... Cooperative Dairy Ltd., Nova Scotia Power, Investors Group, Collaboration of
Community Foundation for the Gulf of Maine, Atlantic Coastal Action Program
(ACAP), Acadia Center of Estuarine Research and the Nova Scotia Department of
Sample Site Locations: Since the beginning of the program in 1992, there have
been many changes to the Annapolis River Guardian Program. Over 50 sites
throughout the watershed have been monitored, seven of which have been
monitored annually since the start of the program.
Start Date: 1992-09-01
ATMOSPHERE > ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE > SURFACE TEMPERATURE > AIR TEMPERATURE
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > CHLOROPHYLL
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > NUTRIENTS
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > OXYGEN
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > PH
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > WATER TEMPERATURE
OCEANS > OCEAN CHEMISTRY > OXYGEN
OCEANS > OCEAN CHEMISTRY > PH
OCEANS > OCEAN CHEMISTRY
OCEANS > SALINITY/DENSITY > CONDUCTIVITY
OCEANS > SALINITY/DENSITY > SALINITY
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > BACTERIA/ARCHAEA
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > VIRUSES
Quality Following a contamination event in 2003, Clean Annapolis River Project
initiated a number of procedures to ensure the quality of data collected. In
addition to instituting a new collection procedure for fecal bacteria, CARP has
put in place a program of regular quality control checks on sampling equipment
... and methods. Further information on the quality assurance/quality control
(QA/QC) program can be found in CARP's draft QA/QC Project Plan (Sharpe &
An important initial step in the QA/QC program is the training of volunteers. A
refresher session was held for all volunteers on April 12, 2005 at Middleton
High School. Dr. Mike Brylinsky, Acadia University, and CARP staff conducted
the session. During the 2005 season, CARP staff conducted visits with all eight
volunteers on collection days in order to both collect a series of blank and
split samples, as well as to ensure the consistency in collection procedures.
For the purposes of CARP's Water Quality monitoring programs, a blank sample is
one filled with water that is known not to contain any of the substance in
question. For CARP's monitoring of fecal bacteria, either distilled or
un-chlorinated tap water is added to the sample bottle. Over the 2005 season,
two different types of blanks were collected: travel blanks and field blanks.
Travel blanks are obtained by filling the sample bottle with distilled/tap
water before the start of a sampling day, and placing them in the same cooler
among other surface water samples. Travel blanks are used to ensure there is no
cross contamination between samples while they are being transported in the
same cooler and should always produce plates with no fecal bacteria growth.
Field blanks are obtained by performing the entire sampling protocol (i.e.:
attaching the bottle to the clamp, and lowering the apparatus to the water
surface) but NOT submerging the bottle. The bottle is instead lifted up empty
and filled with distilled/tap water on the bridge. This type of blank sample is
used to test the sampling procedure and should also always produce plates with
no fecal bacteria growth. A positive result on a field blank would lead to
further investigations to determine the source of contamination (ie: operator,
equipment, distilled water, etc).
Split samples are used to measure both precision and accuracy. Precision is
expressed as the degree of agreement among repeated measurement of the same
parameter and provides information on the reproducibility and consistency of
the methods used. Accuracy, on the other hand, consists of how close a
measurement is to the "true" value. A split sample is single sample volume that
is divided in two samples that are analysed separately. Split samples can
provide information on the precision of the lab method (i.e.: the precision of
Synova's Membrane Filtration Technique (MFT) and/or the precision of
Environment Canada's Dionex Ion Chromatograph method, as well as CARP's own
precision at the MFT). Split samples can also provide information on the
accuracy of the method used (i.e.: the accuracy of volunteers at the Winkler
titration). The degree of variability between two split samples can be
evaluated by calculating their relative percent difference (RPD). The RPD is
expressed as the absolute difference of the two measurements multiplied by 100
and divided by the average of the two values: RPD =|X1 - X2| x 100 (X1+X2) / 2
When more than two samples are to be compared, the degree of variability is
estimated by calculating their Relative Standard Deviation (RSD). Both the RPD
and the RSD are expressions of precision. The smaller the value, the greater
the precision. RSD = s X 100 Xm s = standard deviation Xm = mean of duplicate
samples Accuracy is estimated by taking the absolute difference between the
"true" value and the "test" value. When there are multiple measurements, the
true value is subtracted from the average of the test measurements. The result
is compared to acceptable accuracy standards for each individual method.
Accuracy = Test/Average value True Value Dissolved Oxygen.
Dissolved oxygen split samples were taken in 2005 using a single volume of
water from a Van Dorn sampler. The accuracy of volunteer DO measurements was
assessed through the collection of eight split samples, one from each of the
volunteers. The Winkler Titration is widely recognized has a standard for
determining dissolved oxygen and is reported to have an accuracy of at least
+/- 1 mg/L. Results from the split samples shown below in Table C1, show that
the volunteers attain an average accuracy of +/- 0.32 mg/L. For comparison
purposes, the average DO accuracy during 2004 was +/- 0.85 mg/L. Such a high
degree of accuracy gives greater confidence in the validity of the dissolved
oxygen data. Table E1. Volunteers' level of accuracy at Measuring Dissolved
Oxygen Using the Winkler Titration Site Date Volunteer Result mg/L True* Result
(mg/L) Accuracy +/- (mg/L) 18 10-Jul-05 8.7 8.47 0.23 13 26-Jun-05 7.2 7.76
0.56 AY40 30-Oct-05 8.85 8.92 0.07 35 10-Jul-05 8.7 8 0.7 25 26-Jun-05 7.9 8.37
0.47 49 10-Jul-05 7.85 8.2 0.35 40 26-Jun-05 7.75 7.67 0.08 00 30-Oct-05 8.76
8.89 0.13 Mean Accuracy 0.32 * The "True" DO value was determined by
calculating an average of three Winkler titrations, performed by CARP staff.
March 2006 2005 Annual Water Monitoring Report
Throughout the sampling season, a series of blank samples were submitted blind
for analysis at the Synova laboratory. The three travel blanks analysed had
coliform counts of 0 cfu/100ml, indicating that there is no cross contamination
between samples while they are being transported. Two field blanks collected
also showed no fecal coliform growth, indicating that the fecal bacteria sample
collection procedure is not contaminating the samples. Throughout the 2005
sampling season, a total of nine split samples were collected during the
sampling visits with the volunteers. These samples were submitted to the Synova
laboratory under a fictitious sample identification number. The purpose of this
was to assess the reproducibility of the E.coli MPN analysis method used at
Synova. The results of this are presented in Table C2. The mean RPD for these
split samples was found to be 14.2%. As part of its internal quality assurance
procedure, Synova conducted a replicate study to estimate the reproducibility
of fecal coliform results in 2004. This was estimated by calculating the
Relative Standard Deviation (RSD) of ten replicate samples collected and
analysed using the Membrane Filtration Technique. The reported RSD for the ten
samples was 11.1%. Given the similarity in the two RPD values, it is assumed
that this represents the typical range of precision associated with fecal
bacteria determinations. Table E2. Relative Percent Difference in Duplicate
Samples Analysed for Fecal Coliforms Volunteer Result E.coli MPN (cfu/100ml)
QA/QC Result E.coli MPN (cfu/100ml) Relative Percent Difference (RPD) 144 148
2.74 77 91 16.67 82 86 4.76 192 167 13.93 68 58 15.87 34 32 6.06 150 101 39.04
77 69 10.96 47 56 17.48 Mean 14.2 Nitrate-NitrogenNo nitrate or phosphate
quality control samples were collected in 2005.
It is known that surface waters undergo a daily cycle of warming and cooling.
To date, the magnitude of this cycle for the Annapolis River was not well
understood. This, coupled with fact that River Guardian volunteers do not all
collect their water samples at the same time, introduces an unknown level of
variability into the River Guardian temperature results. On three occasions
during the 2005 season, a StowAway Temperature Logger, (Number 002 - Onset
Instruments) was deployed at Annapolis River Guardian site 40 Paradise. During
each deployment, the logger was anchored to the river bed and placed
approximately 1 meter below the river's surface. The unit was deployed in late
mid September in an attempt capture the typical temperature profiles during the
River Guardian season (April to October). For the three deployments, a total of
25 days of monitoring data was recorded. For each calendar day, the minimum and
maximum temperatures were extracted from the data sets, as well as the water
temperature at noon (currently recommended time for River Guardians to collect
temperature measurements). The difference between daily minimum and maximum
temperatures ranged from 0.3ºC to 3.5ºC, with the average being 1.75ºC. The
sample periods in May, July and September all experienced one or more days
having a daily min to max difference of at least 2.5ºC. Most of the daily
minimum temperatures occurred during the period of midnight to 9.00 am. Most of
the daily maximum temperatures occurred during the period of noon to 6.00 pm.
Water temperatures were observed to increase rapidly during the period of 10 am
to 5 pm and then decrease gradually through the night. When the daily minimum
and maximum temperatures were compared against the noon water temperature, they
were found to differ on average by 0.62ºC and 1.1ºC. This result is not
surprising, as noon tends to be midway through the daily warming cycle. While
the time of temperature measurement has been shown to be a source of
variability, another source would be the particular thermometers used.
The Annapolis River Guardians program uses combination of glass alcohol and
digital thermometers. The glass thermometers have an accuracy of +/- 1ºC and
precision of +/-10%. Glass thermometers are calibrated at the beginning of each
sample season against a known standard. The digital thermometers have an
accuracy of +/- 0.3ºC. The variability introduced to the data through the use
of the glass thermometers is comparable to that arising from time of
temperature measurement. The glass thermometers are gradually being phased out
of active use. Conclusions This investigation has indicated that the time of
temperature measurement represents a moderate source of variability within the
River Guardians program, comparable to that introduced through the use of glass
thermometers. The current recommended time of temperature measurement of 12:00
am occurs at a period of rapid water temperature change. If different
volunteers were to collect water samples either slightly before or after this
time, this could introduce significant variability into the temperature
dataset. There are two periods of the day where water temperatures exhibited
limited change: mornings (e.g. 7.00 to 10.00 am) and evenings (5.00 to 8.00
pm). CARP's principal concern with respect to surface water temperature is the
impact of increase temperatures of cold water fish such as trout and salmon. In
order to reduce the variability introduced from time of temperature measurement
and track peak water temperatures, it is recommended that: In order to reduce
the potential for variability being introduced into the dataset and ensure the
entire dataset remains usable, it is recommended that: - River Guardian
volunteers be encouraged to collect water samples at a consistent time (12:00
noon); - A temperature data logger be deployed at a single sample location for
the full season, to allow the determination of a correction factor to be
applied against field temperature observations.
Access Constraints None noted.
Use Constraints None noted.
Data Set Progress
Distribution Media: Online Internet (HTTP)
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: (902) 532-7533
Fax: (902) 532-3038
Email: carp at annapolisriver.ca
21 Saint Anthony Street P.O. Box 395
City: Annapolis Royal
Province or State: NS
Postal Code: B0S 1A0
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Water Quality Monitoring Program
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2006-08-25
Last DIF Revision Date: 2016-01-27