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Regional Watershed Monitoring Program

Healthy Rivers and Shorelines and Regional Biodiversity are key elements of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's strategic business plan.  The ability to track and report on changes to these elements is paramount to the success of an organization that has a unique history of watershed planning, management and reporting in the greater Toronto region.

The Regional Watershed Monitoring Program (RWMP) is a science based, long-term monitoring initiative developed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.  Its purpose is to collect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem data at the watershed and sub-watershed scale, and across the region as a whole.  The program provides the data and information that informs the key planning and reporting mechanisms of the TRCA.  Further, the program has enhanced the planning and coordination of monitoring activities, helped standardize protocols, and has filled several key data gaps that have been identified.  It also facilitates the communication of data availability and data sharing both internally and with external agencies.  

The scope of the RWMP focuses on key components of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem, including:

  • Stream Water Quality - assesses a variety of basic water chemistry, metals and microbiological parameters;
  • Stream Water Quantity - monitors changes in the water levels of the region's watercourses through the use of stream gauges and base flow measurements;
  • Aquatic Habitat and Species - including benthic macroinvertebrates, fish populations, algae, fluvial geomorphology and stream temperature;
  • Terrestrial Habitat and Species - monitors flora and fauna species and communities through biological inventories and fixed plots and through the use of trained volunteers;
  • Meteorology - monitors the contribution to the Region's hydrology through precipitation (rain and snow); and,
  • Groundwater Quantity and Quality is assessed at a series of wells throughout the region.