Getting data to report on this impact measure is a work in progress. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any data or ideas to share with us on this measure, please send us an email at [email protected].
An overgrowth of harmful algae is primarily caused when excessive nutrients, especially phosphorus and nitrogen, enter the water causing these sometimes toxic substances to unnaturally thrive. Cases of harmful algae plague Canadian waterways every year. Blue-green algae is a particularly toxic form of algae and can have negative, life affecting impacts on aquatic systems, species and on human health. Algae blooms can have further impacts on recreational water use and on economic activities of the region.
Unfortunately, tracking cases of harmful algae blooms in Canadian waterways is no easy task. There are millions of water bodies across the country and some jurisdictions only take an action or support monitoring when blooms are ‘reported’, whereas others don’t maintain any list of harmful algae outbreaks at all. For example, in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, monitoring is triggered only when algae is reported; whereas, in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island there are blue-green algae monitoring programs of varying types. As can be seen, monitoring - when it does happen - is markedly different from province to province, making it difficult to aggregate results across Canada. As a result, there are likely many more algae blooms than what’s being reported or publicly available. More work needs to be done to determine how best to gather data for this impact measure in a meaningful way.
5-Year target: To establish a process for, and identify, an initial benchmark for this impact measure.
Last updated November 2017