GBF is revolutionizing water quality monitoring in Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay Forever has partnered to purchase the first Canadian Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which will drastically improve water quality data measurement. Thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership with the University of Western Ontario, Wilfred Laurier University, and the University of Waterloo - we will now have the ability to model the impacts of climate change, water levels, increasing development, industrial or municipal spills, sewage overflows, septic failures, aquaculture operations, bacterial contamination and the success of conservation measures. And we will be able to consistently collect data in a way that allows us to monitor water quality trends from year to year, and detect and map improvements and declines in areas throughout the Bay. Most importantly, we will be able to do all this in a cost effective way. We could not have done it without you! Georgian Bay Forever donors generously provided $80,000 towards this purchase. We are pleased to recognize Phillip and Eli Taylor, Frank and Patricia Mills, Brian and Sabine Thomson, and Michael and Jackie Green.
This ground-breaking machine is loaded with features that will drastically improve water quality measurementThe compact i3XO AUV is not only sophisticated in terms of the type of water quality data it can collect, it’s easy to use, has the ability to complete wide-area underwater surveys without the use of a boat, and requires little human support. It can be launched from a dock by one person, run night or day underwater for 8-10 hours, and return to a rendezvous point for pick-up.The machine is already being used in the United States by government agencies, the military, universities, contractors and private organizations. The time has come for the Bay to benefit from this revolutionary tool.For the first time, we will have a clear window into the quality of the Bay’s water with the ability to create high-resolution maps of watersheds and Digital Elevation Models (DEM - a 3D representation of areas of the Bay). In fact, we will be able to create a gradient colour map of the entire Bay, capturing what it looks like and in which direction the water is flowing. Access to dramatically improved data sets uploaded to a computer will allow us to monitor and address local hotspots where water quality has been compromised. Adding a GoPro camera to the AUV will also make it possible for us to create underwater video records.
This rich data will help inform key stakeholders whose decisions impact the BayPurchasing the AUV is about more than collecting scientifically-based data about water quality. By providing key stakeholders with more robust data:
- Federal, provincial and municipal governments will be able to make better informed decisions about policies and regulations affecting the Bay and the Great Lakes;
- Scientists will be better equipped to model and trend impacts on water quality;
- Coastal managers will be better prepared to protect the watershed; and
- Federal, provincial and academic partners will be better able to collect the data they need for their research.