Watershed monitoring helps us:

  • to identify current issues and project future conditions,
  • focus natural resource management actions where they are needed most, and
  • track progress over time.

A clean and plentiful water supply is one of our most important natural resources. As various stressors including climate change and urbanization pressures continue, the challenge to maintain high quality and sustainable quantities of surface and groundwater will increase in scope and continued monitoring and reporting is necessary.

Through their work, conservation authorities have identified a number of these impacts such as threats to water quality and quantity, rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, shrinking wetlands, and degraded biodiversity.

Regular reporting can assist with targeting rehabilitation and protection programs, improving accountability to the public, municipalities and other stakeholders, as well as supporting some of the broader reporting requirements of provincial and federal governments.

Monitoring watershed conditions helps to inform local watershed plans and programs.
For these report cards, conservation authorities are monitoring and reporting on:

surface water quality icon

Surface Water Quality

groundwater quality icon

Groundwater Quality

forest conditions icon

Forest Conditions

How Do Conservation Authorities Monitor Watersheds?

Conservation Authorities collect data using a combination of their own monitoring sites and information from outside sources and partnerships.

  • Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN)
  • Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network (PGMN)
  • Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN)
  • GIS Mapping Data
  • Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) MNR
  • Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP)
  • Ontario Base Maps
  • Ontario Invasive Plant Council
  • Other sources: municipalities, Environment Canada
number of ontario monitoring sites

Healthy land and water resources ensure safe drinking water and resilient forests, wetlands and wildlife.

Source: Conservation Ontario 2020 Annual Conservation Authority Statistical Survey