Analyse de niveau du bassin hydrographique et des conditions des cours d'eau sur l'ensemble du district régional du Grand Vancouver à l'aide de techniques de surveillance rapides et de la cartographie de la couverture terrestre

Des surveillants (FreshWater Watchers) de la région du Grand Vancouver collectent des données pour permettre une évaluation de la santé des cours d'eau, établissant un ensemble d'indicateurs de référence pour la condition des cours d'eau. La recherche examinera davantage la qualité de l'eau en fonction des différents degrés d'urbanisation, l'utilisation des terres avoisinantes et la couverture terrestre de la ville.

Le lien entre l'urbanisation et la qualité de l'eau est connu dans ses grandes lignes, mais il reste encore beaucoup à apprendre sur ce lien à une plus petite échelle. Les différences de contour et d'arrangement de la couverture terrestre, y compris l'utilisation de « zones tampon », peut modifier l'écoulement des substances nutritives et des polluants dans les cours d'eau, ayant des impacts variables sur la qualité de l'eau.

Le but du projet est d'accroître et partager la compréhension de la relation entre l'utilisation des terres urbaines, plus précisément les types d'occupation du sol et les pratiques de gestion, et la qualité de l'eau. Les données serviront également à déterminer les mesures de qualité de l'eau qui sont les plus sensibles aux changements de la couverture terrestre. En prenant la responsabilité de la surveillance des cours d'eau de Vancouver, les chercheurs bénévoles aideront les scientifiques et les décideurs locaux à prendre de meilleures décisions concernant l’environnement à Vancouver.

Dr. Scott Shupe, University of the Fraser Valley, Department of Geography

Responsable scientifique du projet: Dr Scott Shupe
Université de Fraser Valley


Q & A

Where are you based?

Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Why did you become a scientist?

I have always been curious about the world around me. When I was a child I was fascinated by the variety of animals on the Earth and their behaviours. Growing up I wanted to emulate scientists who went out in the field to observe and understand how animals function. Seeing the scientists work in the field was very interesting to me. As I grew older I became increasingly interested in the habitats of the animals as well and developed an appreciation and urge to understand the complexities of the Earth.  Animals, forests, the Earth itself and even space - I was simply interested in everything. When I first went to university I literally started my studies at “the ground floor”, that is geology, eventually branching off into renewable natural resources and advanced technologies to study the Earth.

What do you enjoy about science?

I think that curiosity is a natural human quality that is fulfilled by active investigation. It is rewarding to conduct investigations that bring to light information that helps us understand the natural world or that provokes insight into our understanding about the world that we live in. I also like to read about what scientists in other fields are doing and like to try and understand the importance of their findings.

What is your favourite freshwater activity?

I enjoy swimming in the lakes in the summer and running on unpaved trails that take me close to streams all year round.

Where is your favourite lake and why?

One of my favourite lakes is Alouette Lake, northeast of Metro Vancouver. It is a wonderful, accessible drive to the lake uphill through the beautiful forests of Golden Ears Provincial Park. It is generally quiet and peaceful around the lake most of the year and the air is fresh and clean. To top it off there is a wonderful vista of mountains from the beach at the southern end of the lake.

What excites you about HWP?

The HWP is bringing together scientists and citizen scientists in a novel way that will provide fundamental data and yield information for use in understanding local and global fresh water issues. Citizen Scientists will provide a vital role in observing and measuring the state of fresh water resources, particularly as pressures mount and governmental monitoring becomes stretched thin.

How is the Programme going so far?

The program is going well. We had our first Citizen Scientist Leader (CSL) Event in Vancouver on April 30, 2013. Vancouver CSLs have begun collecting data in the field for their representative streams and some of them have already posted these data on the Freshwater Watch website.

What are some of the consequences for our planet and people if we sit and do nothing?

An unfortunate consequence of doing nothing is that many people end up being in a state where they don’t realize what has been lost and that degraded water resources become an accepted part of their everyday lives. As populations expand natural ecosystems will become increasingly impacted as we build more roads, buildings, pipelines and other structures and we extract more resources to service these increasing populations. While we often talk about the economic benefits of ongoing development, we often overlook the possible  concurrent loss of benefits provided by natural ecosystems, such as clean water, fresh air, and resources such fish and timber.  Continual development and land cover change will particularly affect the quality of global water resources and cause points of contention around the world. Without clear objectives and efforts to conserve and sustainably use water human populations will face significantly increased costs to access diminishing water resources.

What kind of impact do you think the HWP can make both locally and globally?

People involved in the HWP will be leaders in society by demonstrating good practices in water usage and conservation. The HWP will also show how trained Citizen Scientists and scientists can work together to provide relevant and timely information on the state of water resources at both local and global scales. The outcomes of HWP research can then help inform local land managers and governments on how humans are impacting water resources, and hopefully influence best management practices.

5 top tips for CSLs and FreshWater Watchers?

  1. Plan for adequate time to reach the sample site and to take the measurements carefully and accurately without rushing. Make sure that you are prepared.

  2. Be aware of your surroundings when in the field. Not only for safety, but also to look for potential changes that may be overlooked when revisiting sample sites. Sometimes subtle changes can have important meanings.

  3. Double-check that you have made all your observations and measurements before leaving the sample site.

  4. Ask questions!

  5. Spend time on the FreshWater Watch website to find out about what others are doing in your area and around the world.