An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will drastically improve water quality measurement

GBF is working to improve water quality measurement in Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay Forever is excited at the prospect of purchasing the first Canadian Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which would drastically improve water quality data measurement. We need your help to get it! Through this machine, we are hoping to create high resolution data maps of the watersheds and a number of chemical and physical parameters. This will allow the creation of Digital Elevation Models (DEM) for Canadian waters; a digital representation of the watershed…allowing predictions to be made to model the impacts of climate change, water levels, development, spills, sewage outflows, septic failures, bacterial contamination or conservation measures.

This is an important resource gap, that needs to be filled. Here is why:

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

  • Creating a view. This information and these tools exist on the US side, but not on the Canadian Side.
  • Monitoring trends.This information can be collected every year in the same way so that trending can be seen. Improvements or declines can be accurately detected and mapped.
  • Reducing costs . Launch can happen from a dock with one person, run overnight and 10-12 hours later the unit will be picked up after it returns to a rendezvous point and holds in place.


  • donation link

    The dramatically improved data sets will allow us to input data into the model (DEM) and to use this tool to monitor hotspots. Visualizations of our water will be available. Local hot spot issues will be addressed. Governments will be better informed and be able to make better decisions on policy and regulation. Scientists will be better able to model impacts -- in fact they will finally be able to do this (on the Canadian side). Coastal managers can better protect the watershed. Bylaws can be better informed. Provincial, Federal and academic partners can have a tool made available to better collect the data they need for their research.

    It is going to take water quality monitoring from the dark ages into the light.

    • Better policy/regulation
    • Smarter development
    • More and better science based understanding of the waters of Georgian Bay
    • Better protective measures

    We can do better - current sampling is over the side of a boat…

    The resulting data acquired is integrated over the whole bay and therefore only a spotty amalgam of points is able to be presented for a region. Imagine from this image if we only used one representative sample location. What if the water ebbed and flowed due to wind direction, water level or an upstream dam? What would we actually know? We could be telling people something that is actually wrong about the water quality and misleading them. That will stop with this AUV tool. Look at the gradients measured below. By the current boat and sonde method it would literally take a week to collect the data shown below for this relatively small area…and since the water is always ebbing and flowing it would be changing faster than we could collect the data. Useless. The AUV could do this overnight, be launched from shore without need for a boat and only need one person to deploy and retrieve - taking measurements every second. And it could be done over and over if you really wanted to look at changes due to circulations, weather patterns, water levels etc. Night and Day!

    Water chart Georgian Bay

    The AUV can follow a programmed collection survey. That survey can be reproduced again and again to show changes in the watershed resulting from numerous stressors – climate change, sewage overflows, increasing development, industrial or municipal spills, aquaculture operation impacts, shoreline remediation… AUV what it can do for water measurement

    And the data can be mapped in three dimensions. Whether it is dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, temperature, pH, conductivity (a measure that show the mixing of outer Bay and Coastal waters) or even adding a GoPro to allow the creation of underwater video records…this tool is a window into our water world.

    AUV window to our water world

    Donate today!

    We value your support. Please donate to Georgian Bay Forever to ensure water quality monitoring improvements and other protections for your water continue. Learn more about the options to donate to support our work.

    Georgian Bay Forever is a charity that funds and supports scientific research, restoration projects and education that protect and enhance the waters of Georgian Bay, as part of the Great Lakes. Our vision is that Georgian Bay waters are healthy and thriving for future generations.