Birch River watershed baseline study

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Clarke, Derek
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The goal of this project was to collect baseline data pertaining to the Birch-Boggy Rivers. Baseline data was collected through a review of existing documents and data, a survey of the river and riparian area for point source impacts, a survey of area residents to obtain local ecological knowledge and determine their use of the river, an examination of the hydrology of the area, an examination of the water quality of the rivers, and collections of aquatic biota. Twelve substantial point source impacts were identified along the 81 km of river investigated. Local interest in the river was probably high as over 50% of residents responded to the survey, and residents used the river for a variety of recreational and domestic purposes. Examination of the hydrological data determined that with the current data it is not possible to predict water discharge rates from the Birch River. Overall the water quality was very good, but turbidity levels greater than 5 ntu and fecal coliform bacteria counts as high as 190 fcu/100 ml indicate water must be carefully treated prior to drinking. Oxygen levels were also low during winter and summer, probably explaining the seasonal absence of sportfish from the river during these periods. Collections of biota indicate fish com osition remains unchanged from previous studies, and invertebrate collections provide insight to composition for future researchers. Overall baseline data collected for this study provides a reasonably comprehensive description of the current condition of the riverine ecosystem. The collection of baseline data has also identified areas where more research needs to be conducted. Recommendations are presented which will mitigate the effects of negative point source impacts, improve conditions for recreational and domestic use of the river, and suggest areas in which more research is needed.