At Power To Be, we respect the natural world and the positive role it plays in people’s growth, healing and wellbeing. At our Prospect Lake site, stewarding the land and waterways and supporting local wildlife and ecosystems is very important to our organization and our community.
Power To Be is thrilled to be partnering with Swim Drink Fish, a Canadian charity organization dedicated to monitoring, restoring, and protecting local waters. Our Prospect Lake site is a new Water Monitoring Hub where Swim Drink Fish can conduct their water quality monitoring program.
Swim Drink Fish works to empower people to know and safeguard their local waters by teaching them to monitor the health of the water using their programs and apps. They focus on water because all communities need swimmable, drinkable, and fishable waters to thrive. By connecting people to water through community science, communications technology, and storytelling, Swim Drink Fish hopes to empower them to protect and restore the water bodies they cherish. If our waters are imperilled from pollution such as sewage, chemicals, fertilizers, and physical debris, it threatens our ability to interact safely with the water, not to mention the ecological impacts on species and their habitat. By engaging the community in learning about their local water quality issues, Swim Drink Fish collectively advocates for strong water quality standards, helping to restore and protect one of our most important resources.
Swim Drink Fish has established Water Monitoring Hubs in Toronto, Kingston, Edmonton, Vancouver, and now Victoria. Hubs are established in places that are considered under monitored yet are popular sites for recreation. The main goal of a monitoring hub is to connect people to water and ensure they have access to information they need to safely interact with their local water bodies. Each hub monitors several sites on a weekly basis (best practice) throughout the swimming season from May-September when people are interacting most with the water, collecting 5 samples at each location. These samples are then processed and analyzed in the lab with results available the following day. These results are uploaded to Swim Guide and other open data sources for access by the public. Their hubs operate through
community based science, inviting people to become part of the sampling process by offering volunteer opportunities that equip them with the training and skills necessary to learn about their waters. Swim Drink Fish also promotes water literacy and advocacy by participating in events with like-minded organizations in addition to hosting community events and workshops.
Katie Wilson of Swim Drink Fish has been stationed at Power To Be’s Prospect Lake site for the past couple of months, conducting work as the Victoria Community Based Water Monitoring Coordinator. During this time, she has been providing weekly updates to the Power To Be team and has made some interesting observations of the lake while spotting some exciting wildlife.
“Having completed my 8th consecutive week sampling from the Power To Be dock, I can say that I have really enjoyed interacting with the site and the lake. Through my observations and data collection, I have identified possible sources of pollution such as algal blooms and waterfowl waste which help to inform the long-term health and water quality of the lake. Despite these observations, the results for the site thus far show low levels of e.coli. There have been numerous wildlife sightings including Canada geese, kingfishers, seagulls, bass, and even a beaver! In the past few months, I have seen people swimming, boating, fishing, and paddle boarding within the monitoring area, indicating the popularity of the lake. As the season shifts to fall and winter, and the rainy days begin, I am curious to see how the water quality changes and whether there are any significant differences in bacteria concentrations. Overall, working by Prospect Lake has been a great experience, especially when there is such an awesome community of people at Power To Be to work with!”
We are so excited to partner with Swim Drink Fish and host them at our Prospect Lake site. Already, we have connected members of our community with the amazing work that they are doing and look forward to learning more and collaborating with their team!