Three Environmental Technology students received a $500 bursary from the Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club. The bursary focused on student research related to conservation, environmental studies and/or fish and wildlife management. Students complete projects as part of their Applied Research Project course – a third-year course in the Environmental Technology program. Student research is possible with partnerships from environmental organizations including the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Severn Sound Environmental Association and Dougall Canal Management Board.
Here’s a summary of the three projects:
- Analysis of Vegetation Cover Changes in the Carden Alvar: The Carden Alvar is a rare ecosystem and is home to many rare species. This ecosystem consists of grassland, wetland, shrub land and savannah; it has a thin layer of soils (although soil is not always present), that lay on top of a stone base of either limestone and/or dolostone. The threat that is raising concern for the NCC is the overgrowth of shrubs and invasive plant species on the property. This overgrowth limits sunlight and impacts survival of rare plant species present within the alvar. This is not only raising concern because of the amount of overgrowth, but also because of the impacts of rare fauna that rely on native vegetation being compromised with the alvar. Appropriate management approaches to address this concern and to sustainably manage this rare ecosystem are required. An analysis of vegetation to determine the extent of overgrowth and to prioritize management activities is to be completed during this research.
- Provincial Water Quality Study in the Severn Sound Tributary System With a Focus on the Wye River: Water quality data will be analyzed in order to conduct a water quality study of the status of the Severn Sound Tributaries. The analysis will focus on parameters as set by the Ministry of the Environment and the Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN) in Ontario; primarily investigating the phosphorous/nitrogen content, suspended solids and overall water chemistry of the Wye River. Using historical documents of the tributary health and flow data, statistical software will be used to highlight trends in water quality and to make predictions for future mitigating measures and protection of the water system.
- Eurasian Milfoil Issues within the Dougall Canal, Orillia Ontario: The Dougall Canal, located in Orillia, has previously experienced water quality issues due to overabundance of the invasive species Eurasian Milfoil. The research will assess the water quality of the Dougall Canal and potential sources of what is contributing to these water quality issues. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide alternative solutions to dealing with invasive species that avoid the use of herbicides and include some best management practices to maintain good water quality.