Testing Season has begun for the Lake Erie Gaurdians!

The Lake Erie Guardians were out in full force this past weekend, testing water samples from Windsor to Niagara. 

By: Ashley van der Pouw Kraan

By the end of the weekend, data had been collected from 50 different spots. Go Guardians!

This was also the first weekend that we offered one of our extra challenges, which give the Guardians the chance to make their work for Lake Erie even more impactful. 

The challenge had two parts: to record their first water quality observation and (for anyone who has a lakefront property) to allow a part of their shoreline to go natural for the summer.

As you may have guessed, this two-part challenge also has two goals in mind. 

Our first goal is to begin creating a baseline image of the health of the Lake Erie watershed. This baseline is important because in order to protect water, we need to know how healthy (or unhealthy) it is in the first place. 

By crowdsourcing water quality data, we're creating a holistic overview of the health of the Lake Erie watershed, which will help other water-focused NGOs, as well as scientists and local government, get a better idea of the health of the Lake Erie watershed. Then, if something unusual does come up, we'll be able to compare it to previous data to determine if we're looking at the usual trend, or if further investigation is needed. 

Our second goal is to increase the amount of naturalized shoreline around Lake Erie.

Shoreline naturalization is an up-and-coming trend throughout Canada and other parts of the world. Rich in vegetation, naturalized shorelines provide the habitat local wildlife needs to survive and thrive. Not to mention they're also cost-effective, have minimal maintenance, and an excellent defence against erosion, and reduce the water run-off that causes algae blooms and excessive weed growth. (Check out our article on wetlands to learn more about the benefits of natural ecosystems!)

Inspired to take action? You don't need to be a Guardian to make a difference. You can pick up your own water testing kit to start measuring the health of your favourite body of water or learn how to lead a socially distant cleanup in your community.

The next water testing weekend is happening between June 26-28. If you're out in the watershed and see our testers, be sure to give them a wave!

Check out the photos below!

The following images are courtesy of kristie.lloyd on Instagram:

The 2021 Lake Erie Guardians program is a partnership between the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and Water Rangers.