Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission. 2012. Monitoring stream water quality: Upper Skagit River watershed, 2011 Field Season Report. Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission.
Organization Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission
URL http://skagiteec.org/skagit-research-library/monitoring-stream-water-quality-upper-skagit-river-watershed-2011-field-season-report-1/at_download/file
Abstract/Description or Keywords The Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC) was established by a 1984 Treaty
between Canada and the United States and is mandated to support environmental quality
upstream of the Ross Lake Dam. The monitoring of stream water quality is one of the many
important initiatives supported by the organization. In 2007 and 2008, SEEC contracted with
Limnotek, a Vancouver-based environmental company, to develop a model for water quality
monitoring in the Upper Skagit watershed. Forty-nine reference sites where set up in pristine
waters for the establishment of a Reference Condition Model based on Canadian Aquatic
Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol. Ten test sites where also set up in areas influenced
by human activities.
SEEC contracted with Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning (HMCOL) for continued
stream water monitoring of the watershed in 2010. CABIN protocol training was acquired
through Environment Canada, supplies and equipment purchased or rented, laboratories
researched for water chemistry testing and taxonomists sought for benthic invertebrate
enumeration. A volunteer pool was also established for field sampling. 2010 Fieldwork was
completed for seven sites and results reported to the Commission.
HMCOL was retained again in 2011 to complete fieldwork on ten sample sites on which this
documents reports. Sites were identified and successfully surveyed. Field sampling, which is
usually carried out in August, was postponed until mid-September due to unusually high stream
flows as a result of high snowpack from the previous winter and cool spring weather. Water and
invertebrate samples were sent to laboratories and data results returned. Data were compiled
and entered into the CABIN database. Site characterization and assessment was accomplished
using CABIN reporting. The results from CABIN analysis are described in this report. Scott
Denkers, Hope Mountain Centre, was the project manager.
Out of the ten sites surveyed, three were resurveys of reference sites originally set up in 2007
and 2008. Four test sites were selected as resurveys to identify trends in water quality. Three
new test sites were identified and surveyed to follow up on specific water quality questions. The
ten sites on seven watercourses are widely distributed throughout the Skagit watershed. Rivers
and creeks represented included the Skagit River, Sumallo River, Skaist River, Snass Creek,
Silverdaisy Creek, Ferguson Creek and Silvertipped Creek.
Results generated from CABIN analysis indicate seven “unstressed” sites. Sampling results
pointed out two “potentially stressed” sites on Sumallo River (upstream of Sunshine Valley
development) and Silvertipped Creek. One “severely stressed” site was identified on
Silverdaisy Creek just below the old abandoned Siverdaisy Mine.
Information Type report
Regional Watershed Lower Fraser
Sub-watershed if known Skagit River
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name
Contact Email