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November / December 2010

Science information for water professionals, policy and decision makers and others interested in effective management of Canada’s water resources

In this issue:

Science Notes

Recent Publications

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Science Notes

Water Quality Index (WQI) of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI)

Staff from all regions of Environment Canada’s Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Division met with representatives from the provinces (November 30 - December 1, Montreal), to discuss the Water Quality Index (WQI) and work together to improve it. Organized by Julie Boyer and Jean-François Bibeault, the workshop was an opportunity to present 2010 WQI results, statistics relevant to the WQI, as well as work on water quality and indicators. Among other presentations, Malcolm Conly, Prairie and Northern Region, presented the Peace-Athabasca Delta Ecological Monitoring Program; Paul Klawunn, Ontario Region, presented problems regarding the Niagara River; and Aaron Todd, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, shared the importance of monitoring chlorides and developing recommendations specific to the sites for this anion. This annual meeting also included an intensive session on the process for validating and checking scientific data, encouraging a discussion of the relevance of standardizing data quality assurance and control practices.

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Water Quality Monitoring Sub-Group Restarted

On November 30, Paul Klawunn (new sub-group co-chair), Chris Lochner and Jean-François Bibeault hosted an informal meeting to discuss restarting this dormant CCME sub-group. The meeting was held during the annual Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) meeting in Montreal (see above), capitalizing on the attendance of many provincial and territorial water quality monitoring colleagues. The sub-group has been dormant since former EC chairs moved on, and re-initiation of the group was enthusiastically supported by all present. A follow-up teleconference has been planned to formalize the initiatives discussed at the meeting.

First National Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Science Forum, Vancouver, British Columbia

First National Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Science Forum | Photo: Stephanie Strachan The 1st Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Science Forum was held in Vancouver late in 2010, bringing together users from a variety of sectors and backgrounds to enhance monitoring programs and national transfer of knowledge between CABIN pioneers and more recent users and partners. The Forum was a resounding success with 150 registered participants from all provinces, Yukon and Northwest Territories. Of the participants, 65% were CABIN users/partners and 35% were people interested in getting involved in CABIN. A webinar was offered on the first day, providing a cost-effective way to encourage participation from across the country, with 34% of participants using this approach. Proceedings will be made available in January and will include abstracts, as well as discussion of the successes and challenges of the program. See the CABIN website.

Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative (LWBI) Presentation to Manitoba Environmental Industries Association

Nancy Hnatiuk, Manager of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Office, recently provided an overview and update on the LWBI to approximately 30 members of the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA). MEIA is a non-profit organization that connects business, government and interested stakeholders with environmental issues and opportunities. Members include environmental technology and service companies, engineering and environmental consulting firms, government departments and crown corporations, law firms, businesses, research companies, associations and community organizations. Following the presentation, discussion topics included the application and future role of science, as well as the need for government action on nutrient management.

Urban Contaminant Study in Northern British Columbia

Sampling strategy/grid for Prince George, British Columbia | Photo: Ian DroppoDr. Ian Droppo took part in collaborative research meetings on an urban street dust sediment study for the city of Prince George, British Columbia, where a mix of industrial, commercial and residential land uses contribute to a spatially diverse distribution of sediment quality with possible management implications and health-related effects.

Well over 400 samples have been collected and are currently being analyzed for grain size distribution, mineralogy and metal concentrations (with sequential extraction) with the end results contributing to EC’s research mandate in urban water management.




Phosphorus in Canadian Aquatic Ecosystems

The first national assessment of nutrient concentrations in Canadian watersheds was completed using data taken from water quality monitoring sites operated by Environment Canada and sites operated jointly by Environment Canada and federal, provincial and territorial partners. The web content provides an initial synthesis of the state of (2004-2006), and trends in (1990-2006), nutrients in Canada’s watersheds, as a complement to the water quality index (Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators). A more detailed report on the situation of all nutrients measured in the watersheds will follow. In summary, elevated concentrations of total phosphorus were measured in some regions of Canada, with close to one-third of assessed sites classified as eutrophic or hypereutrophic. For more information, see the Fresh Water Quality Monitoring website.

Funding to Investigate Innovative Wastewater Disinfection

Kaolinite and wastewater floc | Photo: Ian DroppoIan Droppo, Peter Seto, Cheng He and John Gibson, with researchers from Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, Trojan Technologies, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, were successful in obtaining a 4-year funded NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant to investigate the relationship between physico-chemical-microbial structure and UV disinfection of biological flocs in municipal wastewater. Much of the investigative study will take place within the Wastewater Technology Centre of Environment Canada and will include graduate students from the universities working on-site and co-supervised by EC staff. This research is expected to lead to development of an innovative, more cost-effective technology for wastewater disinfection. It is also thought this technology may also enhance the opportunity for wastewater reuse initiatives.

Canada-U.S. Technical Working Group on Viruses in Wastewater

Health Canada hosted a meeting in Ottawa that brought together scientists and technical program staff from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Environment Canada to discuss issues related to the survivability of viruses in municipal wastewater effluent. The focus was on viruses that pose public health risks from food-borne illnesses resulting from consumption of bivalve molluscan shellfish from marine waters potentially impacted by sanitary sewage. Studies conducted in both Canada and the U.S. were presented and technical discussions were held on analytical methods, wastewater treatment methods to address virus reduction, and acceptable dilution ratios to reduce risk.

At this meeting, the U.S. FDA tabled the initial draft of their Supplemental Report of the Audit of Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and Prohibitive Zone Classifications. This is the long-awaited second report stemming from the U.S. FDA's audit of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) conducted in 2009 in Atlantic and Pacific regions, although the first draft focuses almost exclusively on WWTPs in Atlantic Canada. A second draft, to be received in the coming weeks, will include findings from the audit in British Columbia. Initial findings are positive, but suggest that there are a few outstanding technical and policy issues to be addressed, related to the classification of shellfish growing areas adjacent to WWTPs. Some of these technical issues will be incorporated into the work of the Canada-U.S. Working Group, and the CSSP agencies (CFIA, EC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) will respond accordingly to the science results to make any necessary changes to program policy.

New Funding from the Canadian Space Agency

Caren Binding and Robert Bukata have been awarded $127K over two years from the Canadian Space Agency under their Government Related Initiative Program to further develop and promote the operational use of remote sensing in EC water quality research and monitoring activities. Several decades of research and development in aquatic optics and remote sensing have culminated in the ability to produce, in near real time, water quality products from earth-orbiting aquatic colour satellite sensors such as NASA’s MODIS and the European Space Agency’s MERIS. These products are providing prompt and detailed observations of, for example, the development and progression of algal blooms in Lake of the Woods, and have been used to monitor inter-annual trends and spatial variability of coloured water quality parameters within the Great Lakes.

Groundwater Contamination - FCSAP Technical Expert Support Meeting

Greg Bickerton presented Groundwater Contamination Discharging to Surface Water & Associated Ecological Effects: Update on NWRI Research Activities as an invited speaker at the Technical Expert Support Meeting organized by the FCSAP (Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan) Secretariat held in Ottawa. The presentation highlighted several active projects that examine groundwater contamination discharging to surface water ecosystems (led by Jim Roy and Greg Bickerton) and the potential use of artificial sweeteners as groundwater tracers of human wastewater effects (led by Dale Van Stempvoort). Recent and future investigations (with research scientists Lee Grapentine and Patty Gillis) of the ecological effects of contaminated groundwater on benthic ecosystems were also discussed. This inaugural meeting was attended by technical staff from all Environment Canada regions and presentations were provided by specialists from various federal departments and academia.

ISO Accreditations for Environment Canada Laboratories

The Quality Management Systems (QMS) used in EC's Newfoundland and New Brunswick microbiology laboratories were evaluated in September and October by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA). These evaluations completed the ISO 17025 accreditation and initial year evaluation cycle of all EC-owned and operated microbiology laboratories in Eastern and Western Canada and demonstrated that the QMS developed by the national Marine Water Quality Monitoring Laboratory Management Team was sound and providing a high level of quality control and quality assurance for the large number of marine water samples processed annually.

These samples are collected and analyzed to support evaluation of environmental conditions in bivalve molluscan shellfish growing areas and meet Environment Canada's responsibilities under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program.

In October 2010, the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation of the Quebec Laboratory for Environmental Testing (QLET) was renewed for a two-year period by CALA. This year, the scope of accreditation was broadened with the addition of three inorganic chemistry parameters: ammonia nitrogen, major ions by ion chromatography and ultra-trace mercury by cold vapour fluorescence spectroscopy. This accreditation provides the QLET Ultra-Trace Mercury Analysis Laboratory Centre of Excellence with external recognition of the laboratory's high-quality work in a very specialized field. Once again, QLET is proud to be recognized for its skill and innovation. This recognition bolsters the reputation of Environment Canada's services and leads clients to trust in their quality.  

Science Horizons Youth Internship Program – Soon to Launch Again for 2011-2012

Science Horizons is an Environment Canada program implemented since 1997 in response to the Government’s Youth Employment Strategy and aimed at advancing research and achievements in the field of environmental science while giving post-secondary graduates the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and experience that will prepare them for sustainable employment in environment based careers. Through funding and collaborative partnerships with successful applicant organizations, Science Horizons and these organizations offer interns hands-on experience working on environmental projects lasting from 6 months to 1 year. During these projects, they are guided under the mentorship of experienced scientists and program managers. Up to a maximum of $12,000 in Science Horizons funding is available for each approved project.

Projects receiving Science Horizons funding during 2011-2012 must align themselves with the Environment Canada mandate. The following are among the key science priorities that are being targeted:

Atmosphere: Climate Change & Clean Air; Meteorological Services and Health-related Information; or Marine Pollution & Water Resources linked to Climate Change Evolution

Water: Water Quality: Wastewater, Urban Water, Water Management, Monitoring (detection of harm to aquatic life, impact on aquatic life, impact on aquatic communities); Water Quantity: Availability, Ecosystem Flow Needs; or Water Science Management: Clean Water Action Plan, Laboratory network, Science for Enforcement

Wildlife & Landscape: Wildlife Research and Landscape Modeling; or Pollutants on Wildlife Species and Ecology

Chemicals: Assessment and Management of risks posed by highest-priority substances; Research and Monitoring of Programs to address Chemicals of Emerging Concern; or Risk Assessment Needs and Risk Management Activities

Science Strategies: Delivering on Environment Canada’s Science Plan and Technology Role; or Optimizing Science Policy Making and Integration

The following types of organizations are encouraged to submit project proposals: post-secondary educational institutions; not-for-profit organizations, professional associations and NGOs; for-profit organizations; municipal/local governments and provincial/territorial agencies if specified in a federal-provincial/territorial agreement or Memorandum of Understanding, or specified by the Minister of the Environment; Aboriginal organizations or associations; and local organizations such as community associations and groups, seniors’ and youth groups, and service clubs.

New program information and details about submitting project applications for 2011-2012 are available on the Science Horizons website.

Recent Publications

Al-Ansari, A.M., A. Saleem, L.E. Kimpe, J. Sherry, M.E. McMaster, V.L. Trudeau and J.M. Blais. 2010. Bioaccumulation of the pharmaceutical 17alpha-ethinylestradiol in shorthead redhorse suckers (Moxostoma macrolepidotum) from the St. Clair River, Canada. Environ. Pollut. 158: 2566-2571.

Allaire, S.E., S. Roulier and A.J. Cessna. 2009. Quantifying preferential flow in soils: A review of different techniques. Journal of Hydrology 378: 179-204.

Bertrand, M., D.J. Marcogliese and P. Magnan. 2010. Effect of wetland enhancement on parasites of juvenile yellow perch. Wetlands 30: 300-308.

Bobba, A.G., P.A. Chambers, D.S. Jeffries, R.A. Bourbonniere and J. Spoelstra. 2010. Surface and groundwater interactions in the riparian buffer zone: general principles, p. 1053-1061. In C. Sarala, B.V. Rao, M.V.S.S. Giridhar and V. Varalakshmi (ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Hydrology and Watershed Management, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, India.

Bobba, A.G., P. Chambers, Y.R.S. Rao, N.C. Mondal and N. Nagabhatla. 2010. Prediction of nutrients discharge from Krishna Delta to coast, p. 1-9. In C. Sarala, B.V. Rao, M.V.S.S. Giridhar and V. Varalakshmi (ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Hydrology and Watershed Management, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, India.

Bobba, A.G., P.A. Chambers, D.V. Reddy and N.C. Mondal. 2010. Estimation of groundwater discharge to beach, p. 1367-1376. In C. Sarala, B.V. Rao, M.V.S.S. Giridhar and V. Varalakshmi (ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Hydrology and Watershed Management, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, India.

Brua, R.B., J.M. Culp and G.A. Benoy. 2011. Comparison of benthic macroinvertebrate communities by two methods: Kick- and U-net sampling. Hydrobiologia 658: 293-302.

Cessna, A.J., J.A. Elliott and J. Bailey. 2010. Leaching of three sulfonylurea herbicides during sprinkler irrigation. J. Environ. Qual. 39: 365-374.

Culp, J.M., D.G. Armanini, M.J. Dunbar, J.M. Orlofske, N.L. Poff, A.I. Pollard, A.G. Yates and G.C. Hose. 2010. Incorporating traits in aquatic biomonitoring to enhance causal diagnosis and prediction. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management DOI: 10.1002/ieam.128.

Daigle, A., A. St-Hilaire, D. Peters and D. Baird. 2010. Multivariate modelling of water temperature in the Okanagan watershed. Canadian Water Resources Journal 35(3): 237-258.

Debenest, T., F. Gagné, C. André, M. Kohli and C. Blaise. 2010. Ecotoxicity of a brominated flame retardant (tetrabromobisphenol A) and its derivatives to aquatic organisms. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part C 152: 407-412.

Degenhardt, D., A.J. Cessna, R. Raina, D.J. Pennock and A. Farenhorst. 2010. Trace level determination of selected sulfonylurea herbicides in wetland sediment by liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part B 45: 11-24.

Edge, T., S. Hill, P. Seto and J. Marsalek. 2010. Library-dependent and library-independent microbial source tracking to identify spatial variation in faecal contamination sources along a Lake Ontario beach (Ontario, Canada). Water Sci. Technol. 62(3): 719-727.

Gagnon, C., P. Turcotte and B. Vigneault. 2009. Comparative study of the fate and mobility of metals discharged in mining and urban effluents using sequential extractions on suspended solids. Environ. Geochem. Health 31: 657-671.

Johnson, P.T.J., A. Dobson, K.D. Lafferty, D. Marcogliese, J. Memmott, S.A. Orlofske, R. Poulin and D.W. Thieltges. 2010. When parasites become prey: ecological and epidemiological significance of eating parasites. Trends Ecol. Evol. 25(6): 362-371.

King, K.C., J.D. McLaughlin, M. Boily and D.J. Marcogliese. 2010. Effects of agricultural landscape and pesticides on parasitism in native bullfrogs. Biolog. Conserv. 143: 302-310.

Krause, R.J., D. McLaughlin and D.J. Marcogliese. 2010. Parasite fauna of Etheostoma nigrum (Percidae: Etheostomatinae) in localities of varying pollution stress in the St. Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada. Parasitol. Res. 107: 285-294.

Kuchta, S.L., A.J. Cessna, J.A. Elliott, K.M. Peru and J.V. Headley. 2009. Transport of lincomycin to surface and ground water from manure-amended cropland. J. Environ. Qual. 38: 1719-1727.

Lalonde, B. and B. Ernst. 2010. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) concentration in sediments located in the vicinity of fish plant effluent outfalls in the Maritimes. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. DOI 10.1007/s00128-009-9930-2.

Locke, S., J.D. McLaughlin, S. Dayanandan and D.J. Marcogliese. 2010. Diversity, specificity and evidence of hybridization in Diplostomum spp. metacercaiae in freshwater fishes is revealed by DNA barcodes and ITS sequences. Int. J. Parasitol. 40: 333-343.

Locke, S.A., J.D. McLaughlin and D.J. Marcogliese. 2010. DNA barcodes show cryptic diversity and a potential physiological basis for host specificity among Diplostomoidea (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) parasitizing freshwater fishes in the St. Lawrence River, Canada. Molecular Ecol. 19: 2813-2827.

Louis, S., F. Gagné, J. Auclair, P. Turcotte, C. Gagnon and C. Èmond. 2010. The characterisation of the behaviour and gill toxicity of CdS/CdTe quantum dots in rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss). Int. J. Biomed. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 1(1): 52-69.

Marcogliese, D.J., C. Dautremepuits, A.D. Gendron and M. Fournier. 2010. Interactions between parasites and pollutants in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in the St. Lawrence River, Canada: Implications for resistance and tolerance to parasites. Can. J. Zool. 88: 247-258.

Ménard, L., R. Escarné, D.J. Marcogliese, D.G. Cyr and F. Gagné. 2010. The impacts of urban pollution on the immune system of spottail shiners (Notropis hudsonius) in the St. Lawrence River. Fresenius Env. Bull. 19(7): 1369-1374.

Richman, L. and D. Milani. 2010. Temporal trends in near-shore sediment contaminant concentrations in the St. Clair River and potential long-term implications for fish tissue concentrations. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36: 722-735.

Rubach, M.N., R. Ashauer, S.J. Maund, D.J. Baird and P.J. Van den Brink. 2010. Toxicokinetic variation in 15 freshwater arthropod species exposed to the insecticide Chlorpyrifos. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 29(10): 2225-2234.

Shabbar, A., B.R. Bonsal and K. Szeto. 2010. Atmospheric and oceanic variability associated with growing season droughts and pluvials on the Canadian Prairies. Atmosphere-Ocean doi:10.3137/AO1202.2010.

Spence, C. 2010. A paradigm shift in hydrology: storage thresholds across scales influence catchment runoff generation. Geography Compass 4(7): 819-833.

Valtonen, E.T., D.J. Marcogliese and M. Julkunen. 2010. Vertebrate diets derived from trophically-transmitted fish parasites in the Bothnian Bay. Oecologia 162: 139-152.

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