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Project Details

Project dates

Tyler Cunningham

Project Lead

My project is aimed at resolving the algal blooms, including blue-green algae, that is currently present in the Rideau River within Long Island, Ottawa.

Project Description

My project is aimed at resolving the algal blooms, including blue-green algae, that is currently present in the Rideau River within Long Island, Ottawa (a popular tourist location which economically benefits the area). These algal blooms posing a threat to humans blue green algae are toxic to waterfowl, and aquatic species alike. When considering algal blooms, this issue was caused by the lack of effort put into sustaining many nature preserves by the local government, agriculture within the area, and the lack of vegetation due to the increase of human development surrounding the water body. In order to combat this issue, I have planted native vegetation (both aquatic and on the shoreline) within the area, allowing native perennials to absorb excess nutrients (including that of nitrates and phosphates) and runoff which would be causing the blooms. As well, the native plants I have planted in the area will also help to oxygenate the water, allowing many species’ populations to re-stabilize. Moreover, I also have created a blog post, to help spread awareness on this issue, educating local residents and the general public on their impacts towards the local water bodies. I hope that, in the future, we will be able to reduce the presence of algal blooms, permitting the preservation of our aquatic ecosystems for future generations to admire.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge within this project was with funding, as it changed quickly after I had planned a proper budget with the plants I wanted to purchase. Nonetheless, I managed to persist through applying to multiple grants, most of which were rejected, proving my journey towards finding funding to be more difficult. Fortunately, one of the grants I had applied to accepted me and was able to use it towards my project (accounting for $500 needed). With the increased budget, I was able to purchase more plants and buy an extensive number of seeds for the planting. Overall, the main reasons I was able to overcome these issues was through my persistence and my counselor (Tyler), as he provided me with the resources necessary to apply to the grants, effectively raising the amount of funds received for the project.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

I feel that the most valuable takeaway from this project is the impact in which I had towards the water body. I know that I was able to better the overall state of the ecosystem within the area, better the community’s overall economy (in terms of fishing and recreation) and aid the area’s biodiversity. I know that my impact, although small, can educate others to do the same, and if not more by my awareness campaigns (post-planting). I believe in paying it forward to the environment, for what it has done for me; and through what I have done, I feel as though I have worked towards that.

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