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CreekWatch Releases Water Quality Report Card

Posted March 24, 2016 by LSC

In celebration of World Water Day (March 22) RiverWatch’s citizen science program, CreekWatch, released its first annual “Report Card” on the quality of water in Alberta urban stormwater creeks.

The CreekWatch Report Card scores are based on water quality data collected by 24 active and trained volunteers from HSBC Bank Canada, Keepers of Mill Creek and GE Water, as well as two science technicians. From June to October 2015, they spent an estimated 130 hours conducting 178 site visits and collecting 1,500 water samples on urban creeks which function as conduits for stormwater runoff in Edmonton and Calgary.

Creek scores were obtained by awarding points for eight parameters, including dissolved oxygen, ammonia nitrogen, nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, temperature, conductivity, turbidity and macroinvertebrates. Higher points were awarded for the best values in each parameter. A top score for each of the eight parameters would result in a total possible score of 56.

2015 CreekWatch Report Card on Alberta Urban Creek Water Quality
(score out of 56)
1 Fish Creek, Calgary Score = 47 (least impacted)
2 Pine Creek (Calgary) Score = 39
3 Blackmud Creek (Edmonton) Score = 38
T 4 Whitemud Creek (Edmonton) Score = 37
T4 West Nose Creek (Calgary) Score = 37
6 Mill Creek (Edmonton) Score = 36
7 Nose Creek (Calgary) Score = 28 (most impacted)

“We are sharing our findings with the public, watershed planning and advisory councils, watershed stewardship groups, industry operators, provincial monitoring agencies and government water quality professionals to promote and advance collaborative efforts that support the consistent monitoring and water quality improvement of our urban creeks in Alberta.” Jim Gendron, RiverWatch Board Chair

“As we developed the Report Card, it became apparent that there is a range of creek water quality in Edmonton and Calgary. While infrastructure and stewardship projects are currently underway on each creek, our ranking system does highlight differences between creeks. It also suggests that improvements can be made in the lower ranked creeks by emulating best management practices taking place on the higher ranked creeks.” Reed Froklage, CreekWatch Citizen Science Coordinator

CreekWatch by the Numbers:

  • 7 urban storm water creeks in Edmonton and Calgary
  • 24 volunteers from HSBC Bank Canada, Keepers of Mill Creek and GE Water
  • 2 science technicians
  • 11 organizations and/or individuals provided advice and support to the project, including Alberta Environment and Parks, City of Calgary, City of Edmonton, Bow River Basin Council, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, EPCOR, Web3 Marketing, Exova, Miistakis Institute, Salmo Consulting and Kevin Weimer

Learn more about CreekWatch. For more information please contact Reed Froklage, Citizen Science Coordinator, CreekWatch C (403) 369–8499 E

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