French River Water Isotope Survey

A call for citizen scientists on the French River:

During summer 2016, Nipissing University’s Integrative Watershed Research Centre (IWRC) is initiating a water isotope survey of the French River. The goal is to collect several ‘snap-shot-in-time’ surveys of river water. To conduct these surveys, we are looking for volunteer residents to collect water samples during three summer weekends (July 2nd– 3rd, July 30th-31st and August 27th-28th). With many volunteers taking samples on the same day, we will be able to map the isotope values of water over the entire river system.


What do we do with the collected samples?

Registered volunteers will receive a sampling kit, including simple sampling instructions and return postage. Stable water isotope samples are easy to collect. As a volunteer you will mail your samples back to Nipissing University using the return envelope provided in the mailing kit. Each water sample will be analyzed in the Department of Geography for naturally occurring isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen, parts of the water molecule. Results will be added to an online map with their dates and locations for volunteers to share in survey results.

What we hope to learn?

The surveying of stable water isotopes in river water allows us to better understand the movement and cycling of water through our watershed and river system. It allows us to estimate how long water has resided in an upstream lake, and what proportion of lake water, groundwater, or snowmelt (in the spring) is mixing to make up the river at any sampling point. Stable water isotopes are increasingly included in surveys of water quality and can provide complementary information on water movement in cases of water quality problems.

In Canada, examples of water isotope surveys of lake and rivers systems include Okanagan Lake and its downstream river in BC, the Oldman River basin, AB, the Mackenzie River, NWT, and the Tay River in eastern Ontario. Nipissing University’s IWRC has conducted surveys on the Wasi River flowing into Callander Bay and is regularly surveying major inflows to Lake Nipissing. Surveys collected along the French River during summer 2016 will extend this monitoring to include downstream of Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay.

Isotopes In Water Survey Locations

How to register?

To register please complete the online sampling registration form or contact us by phone or email (contact information below). Surveys are scheduled for the Canada Day weekend (July 2nd-3rd), the last weekend of July (July 30th-31st) and the last weekend of August (27-28th). Volunteers can sign up for one, several or all dates. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Dr. April James
Canada Research Chair – Watershed Analysis and Modeling
Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Nipissing University, North Bay, ON, CA, P1B 8L7

Email: aprilj@nipissingu.caTel: 705-474-3450 X 4062