Residents in the Xwulqw’selu watershed are teaming up to monitor the flow of water in local streams this summer.
Could this be you?
Connect with the place you call home. Connect with other people and enjoy visiting the watershed together. Connect with water science to learn where streams dry up and how they could flow more.
Here is what is involved:
- Participate in a 3-hour orientation session for Streamflow Monitors in late June.
- Visit 3-5 sites in the watershed every other week from July through September in a team of 3-4 people.
- Record and upload your team’s observations to an online open data sharing app.
- Discover differences between tributaries of the Xwulqw’selu, and share what else you notice about plants, animals, the land, and water.
- Celebrate at our end-of-season volunteer recognition dinner in September. Get to know other Streamflow Monitors and enjoy connecting with special people who also call this place home.
What can I expect from the orientation?
Meet PhD candidate Kristina Disney. She is spearheading the community-engaged streamflow monitoring project. Kristina will explain where to find the sites, what to do at each site, how to use the tools and safety gear in your team’s monitoring kit, how to record your observations as you go, and how to understand the measurements you’re taking. You will have a chance to practice taking sample measurements and ask questions.
What if I will be away for part of the summer? Can I still participate?
Absolutely! We encourage all team members to visit the sites together, but we understand that things come up. We require a minimum of two team members to visit each site for safety reasons. Chat with your teammates and feel free to alternate who’s visiting the sites when you need to.
How do we travel to the sites?
Each team coordinates their own transportation. Decide together how you will travel in a carpool to visit the sites. Travelling together is part of the fun and is a great way to get to know others. If you don’t drive, we will ensure you are placed in a team where someone else does the driving. Each team will receive maps with detailed instructions to find their sites. Streamflow Monitors from previous seasons can also share tips about how they planned their travel and found their way to the sites.
What exactly do the Stream Teams do?
Each Stream Team is assigned a set of sites to visit in the Xwulqw’selu watershed. As a team, you will:
- Measure how deep the water is
- Take the water’s temperature, and
- Note the mineral content in the water.
We provide hand-held monitoring equipment that is easy to use, and don’t worry! You do not need any prior water monitoring knowledge or experience. Part of the fun is learning to make observations and enjoying yourself outdoors.
What happens with the observations we make?
Every team records their observations in an online app. You can do this while you are at the sites, or if there is not reliable cell service, you can upload your observations whenever you access Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Only one team member needs to do this, and your team decides who will do this each visit.
Kristina Disney reviews all the data. She checks it for consistency with her own observations and with data reported from equipment she installed in some of the streams. Kristina then prepares a Streamflow Snapshot about every two weeks. This shows what patterns are emerging in the flow of water within the whole Xwulqw’selu watershed. Our research team shares these reports with people in provincial and federal governments, community and industry organizations, residents, and people who are working together on a long-term plan to ensure there is enough water for to sustain all life in Xwulqw’selu communities, parks, forests, river and streams.
The data is owned by Cowichan Tribes, and University of Victoria is the data steward. Ask us if you would like to learn more about our data sharing agreement and our involvement with the Watershed Planning process.
I have more questions. How can I reach you?
We love questions! We are hosting an information session on June 3rd at Bright Angel Park from 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM. You can meet the research team and folks who have volunteered as a Streamflow Monitor in previous summers. Watch the website for more details.
I’m in! How do I sign up?
Call Jennifer at (236) 800-9011 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will give you a warm welcome and share more details to register for the June orientation session.