Check Your Watershed Day is a stream survey where volunteers work alongside conservation authorities and ENGOs to determine where water is flowing throughout an entire watershed on a single day, i.e., monitoring water quantity or baseflow, to determine the health of the watershed.
Through the Monitoring the Moraine program, EcoSpark piloted this project in 2006 with four partners and 22 volunteers in Wilmot Creek. We successfully led the project across 14 watersheds with 17 partners and 428 volunteers over the course of four years. In addition to conservation authorities, we worked with stewardship councils, community groups, ENGOs and staff at both the MNR and MOE. We also garnered the support of municipalities and local businesses that provided donations and in-kind support (e.g., food donations and equipment).
This impact of Check Your Watershed Day was three-fold: it was an important community education tool to learn about one’s watershed; it also provided data to improve watershed management (e.g., water budgets); it demonstrated the impact of human activity on the health of our streams and the important roles volunteers can play in monitoring and stewardship.
From 2005 to 2011, we coordinated 13 Check Your Watershed Day events, working with 14 partners and 384 volunteers to monitor baseflow on 1327 streams in 13 Moraine-based watersheds. In 2012, we produced an in-depth analysis and report on the volunteer-collected data. The collective data from Check Your Watershed Day has been used to inform research projects and update and complement existing datasets.
Check Your Watershed Day is a successful model that has since been used by other conservation authorities, including the Credit Valley Conservation Authority and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority as a way to meaningfully engage communities in their watershed.
EcoSpark, Community Stream Stewardship Program, Uxbridge Watershed Advisory Committee, Ted Knott Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, Sheridan College, University of Toronto, Durham Land Stewardship Council, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, Halton Conservation, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Kawartha Conservation, Lower Trent Conservation, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Water Survey Canada
Town of Ajax, Municipality of Clarington, City of Oshawa, Municipality of Port Hope, Township of Hamilton, Township of Alnwick-Haldimand, Town of Cobourg, City of Burlington