Since 1999, the City has been conducting regular benthic invertebrate sampling in the spring and fall of each year on many local streams. This type of study is a great tool to help determine both the overall stream health and to monitor the changes in health of the stream from one year due to natural and human induced changes in the catchment.
Benthic invertebrates are tiny organisms found living on the bottom of water bodies. Over 95% of all animal species are classed as invertebrates - or animals without backbones. Some examples are flies, slugs, leeches, beetles, bugs, worms, and crayfish.
These organisms are good indicators of stream health because they:
By examining both the presence and absence of these organisms both at any particular sampling event and over time, the City is able to determine a number of indices that can be weighted to provide insight into the health of the upstream watershed; covering both natural and human induced changes/impacts either positive or negative.
Since the City started this monitoring program in the Spring of 1999 with 12 sites, the program has expanded to collect data at 24 monitoring locations representing the vast majority of the City’s creeks and streams. View the map for detailed site locations.
The data from these studies is available via contacting Engineering - Drainage and Environment at the 604-592-6936.