Continued water quality monitoring throughout the City of Saint John and the Greater Saint John area helps to gain insight into the aquatic habitats that these watercourses provide, as well as their safety for recreational use for humans. The watercourses that have had continuous monitoring this year include: Marsh Creek, Inner Harbour, Newman’s Brook, Caledonia Brook, Alder Brook, Hazen Creek, Taylor Brook, Salmon Creek and Mispec River. Additional sampling sites were added this year on the west side of the City, which include Mill Creek, Spruce Lake Stream, Walker Creek, Mosquito Cove, Manawagonish Creek, and Dominion Park. These new locations were added this year to more accurately portray the water quality of the city’s waterways as a whole.
Overall, the watercourses included in this year’s sampling all continue to have the capability to provide sufficient aquatic habitats for various forms of aquatic life. There are several factors that potentially affect the water courses such as stormwater runoff, sanitary sewer overflows and riparian degradation. The stormwater runoff and riparian degradation as well as the hot, dry weather led to elevated temperatures and slightly decreased dissolved oxygen levels as compared to previous years. On average, most sites this year saw an increase in orthophosphate concentration when compared to previous data. At this time, there is no official guideline or recommendation for orthophosphate levels in place.
The considerable improvements of water quality parameters for aquatic life seen in Marsh Creek since the completion of Harbour Cleanup in 2014 solidifies that the funding and resources put into the project were much needed. The most notable difference in the water quality is the dissolved oxygen concentrations, although lower in 2018 than 2017, they are still above the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment guideline recommended concentration of 6.5 mg/L on average at all the sites sampled.