Project getting underway to monitor Barclay Brook’s water quality

Eric McCarthy
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O’LEARY -- The water quality in Barclay Brook, near O’Leary, is going to be monitored throughout this year’s growing season in an effort to determine why it is so susceptible to fish kills. 

The stream has been the scene of fish kills the last three years following abnormally heavy rainfalls.

Canada’s plant science industry, through CropLife Canada, is funding the monitoring study which will be getting underway this week or next.

 “We just collectively – all the companies together – want to get a better idea of what actually happens in this brook from start to finish, including before, during and after rain storms,” said Pierre Petelle, CropLife Canada’s vice-president for Chemistry.

He admitted the industry is confounded by the stream’s situation. “What’s different there? This study will hopefully give us a better picture, too, of all those factors that may be impacting fish in that brook.”

Monitoring equipment is being set up which will keep track of water quality at regular intervals around the clock. The equipment will check for the presence of chemicals known to be harmful to fish and will also monitor other factors, like oxygen level, ammonia, sediment and temperature.

Petelle said he is aware of initiatives undertaken to help protect water quality, including engineering projects to minimize erosion, a strong emphasis on crop rotation and taking land out of production. He noted an eagerness by government officials and the potato board to deal with the incidence of fish mortality. “We all want a resolution to this,” he said, adding, “this is just one more piece of information that is going to help feed into this overall strategy.”

Geographic location: Canada

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