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Project Details

Project dates
11/11/2023  – 29/01/2024
Kitsucksus Creek, Port Alberni, BC, Canada

Sarah Bennett

Project Lead

My project was based on the salmon and how freshwater habitats, such as streams, are such an important part in their life cycle. I wanted to learn how to test water quality and bring it to my local city council for evaluation.

Kitsucksus Creek Water Quality Testing

I chose to do my project on freshwater ecosystems. I wanted my project to be based around salmon and the importance that streams, creeks and rivers play on the overall life of a salmon. The incredible lengths they go through every year to swim up stream from the ocean and make it to the location where they were hatched.

I decided to learn more about, and execute some fresh water testing. The original plan was to do the water testing at the Stamp River which is a vital location in the annual salmon run here in Port Alberni every year. But I quickly learned how vastly different that river is in the winter months versus the summer months. As it was too unsafe to enter, I decided to head to another creek, the Kitsucksus Creek, which feeds into the Somass River then eventually leading right into the Alberni Inlet.

The testing included taking samples of the following: water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness, and depth.

Once taken and recorded, I then entered all dates into the Water Rangers online portal, and also submitted my data to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

Overall, the readings were pretty good! I learned that the Kitsucksus Creek has amazing oxygen levels which is extremely important in a healthy and productive life for a juvenile salmon.

Finally, through this project I learned the importance of having a back up plan, and how the weather can affect the outcome of your project. I also learned how to accurately carry out a fresh water quality test.

What was your biggest challenge?

The weather was the biggest challenge I faced during this process. Consequently because of extreme conditions, I had to change locations due to high water levels that were unsafe to go near. I also dealt with high volumes of snow which resulted in not being able to do trash pick ups as originally planned. The weather was all over the place this winter and I didn’t take into consideration how much a river can change from one season to the next.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

What people don’t know about, they will not protect. Freshwater ecosystems are so important to many people and things, we need to do what we can to make sure all waterways are clean.

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