River testing underway with students from across the Boundary
The message has been clear since the Kettle River was named the most endangered in B.C.: the Kettle River watershed needs to be monitored and evaluated. In an initiative started by the Granby Wilderness Society (GWS), the first of what they hope will be years of testing are underway.
Jenny Coleshill, a biologist and co-ordinator for the GWS, has been working with youth in schools across the region and internationally to conduct water testing on the Kettle and Granby rivers. These tests are just an indicator of the current water situation, but Coleshill said that they will form the baseline for future years. “Government hasn’t been doing any testing, so I thought it would be a really cool project to get all the schools on board to help out with being good stewards and start taking data on the rivers and making sure they are healthy and clean,” said Coleshill. “This is the first fall that we are doing this, we did a couple of tests in the spring. Hopefully this will be a long-term project for communities and the schools.” Long-term monitoring will provide information on changes in the river over time, explained Coleshill. The tests are a tool to assess the river as a way to take a snapshot of the river at that particular time and place. Some of the indicators being tested are: temperature, dissolved oxygen and saturation, acidity of the water or PH, turbidity, phosphorus, nitrates, and coli form. Earlier this week Coleshill went to Midway to test the river there, on Wednesday she tested the river in Curlew with students from their school, and today she worked with Terry Nuyten’s class from Grand Forks Senior Secondary school to test the water at the Black Train Bridge in Grand Forks. More tests later this week will be done on the Granby River. “In the first round of water testing in the spring testing indicated that our water quality in the rivers is good to excellent in both the Kettle and Granby River,” said Coleshill. “the students did an excellent job in data taking and we commend them in all of their efforts to participate. We will be reporting on these fall tests once they are all complete.” Funding for the project came from the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and School District 51. Results will be shared with the Kettle River Watershed Committee, and the Ministry of Environment.