Twelve Mile Creek Temperature Monitoring

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1 Appendix L

2 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Twelve Mile Creek Temperature Monitoring 2014 Summary Report

3 Contents Tables and Figures Background Objectives Methodology Results St. John s Tributaries Effingham Tributaries and Twelve Mile Creek Analysis Conclusions Error Future Considerations References

4 Tables and Figures Table 1: Stream temperature monitoring stations for Twelve Mile Creek... 6 Table 2: Summary of data collected for Twelve Mile Creek with the exception of TW008, June-October Figure 1: Map showing temperature logger locations in Twelve Mile Creek... 7 Figure 2: Box and whisker plot for St. John s tributary stations Figure 3: Thermal Stability - modified nomogram showing coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater classifications for St. John s tributaries Figure 4: Box and whisker plot for Effingham tributary stations Figure 5: Thermal Stability - modified nomogram showing coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater classifications for Effingham tributaries Figure 6: Twelve Mile Creek maximum water temperatures, July 1- September , 2011, and Figure 7: Twelve Mile Creek mean water temperatures, July 1- September , 2011, and

5 - 1.0 Background The Twelve Mile Creek watershed covers 178 square kilometres of the Niagara Peninsula and is over 22 kilometres in length. Twelve Mile Creek s headwaters can be found in the Fonthill Kame Delta complex in Pelham, Ontario. The creek eventually runs north through urbanized St. Catharines and empties into Lake Ontario at Port Dalhousie. The upper Twelve Mile Creek is groundwater fed. The St. John s and Effingham tributaries are the only identified coldwater streams in Niagara and are located in the Upper Twelve Mile Creek watershed and is therefore the only stream supporting naturally reproducing Brook Trout in Niagara. Stream temperature directly influences the physiology, metabolic rates and life history traits of aquatic species and influences processes such as nutrient cycling and productivity. Fluctuating and permanent natural and human induced changes to water temperature can render suitable habitat unusable to native species of fish, invertebrates and native aquatic communities. Brook Trout are indicators of high quality coldwater habitat. Once abundant throughout the Lake Ontario basin, Brook Trout populations have experienced severe declines since the mid-1900s as a result of habitat loss and stream temperature increases from forest clearing for agriculture and urban development activities. Brook Trout requirements include forested riparian cover, clean low nutrient water quality, base flow sufficient to maintain flow rates, cold water temperature, and up-welling groundwater or spring fed streams to aerate incubating eggs. The upper lethal temperature limit for Brook Trout is 24 C with an optimum temperature range of 13 to 17 C (Coker et al. 2001). The absence or impairment of any of these conditions can negatively affect the viability of individual populations. In order to prevent the degradation and disruption of sensitive Brook Trout habitat and populations it is essential to establish monitoring programs to safeguard their quality and integrity. Water temperature, a key indicator and attribute of Brook Trout habitat health and viability, is easily monitored through the systematic use of temperature dataloggers. In the past, temperature data has been collected since 2006 by the NPCA. The last study took place in This study found that summer stream temperatures exceeded the optimal range for Brook Trout in Twelve Mile Creek. The study also found that four sites had a maximum stream temperature that exceeded the lethal limit for Brook Trout. TW000 was classified as a coldwater stream, while the others were classified as coolwater. 4

6 2.0 Objectives The objectives of the temperature monitoring study are to: Identify and classify the thermal regime for the Twelve Mile Creek surface water sampling stations following similar protocol to 2011 study To identify any changes that may have occurred to the thermal stability of Twelve Mile Creek Follow up on 2011 and 2006 studies and determine areas in need of further monitoring and restoration Determine what other types of monitoring should be implemented in the future 3.0 Methodology Nine stream locations were chosen for the 2013 monitoring season. Eight of these stations are active water quality sampling stations for the NPCA. Four of these stations are also active Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN) stations. The ninth station (TW000) was chosen due to its location within the headwaters of the St. John s tributary, as well there is background benthic macroinvertabrate data associated with this location. The other eight stations were chosen due to the availability of background data, including water chemistry, benthic macroinvertebrate data, fisheries, stream morphology, hydrology data and stream temperature data. Onset HOBO Water Temp Pro dataloggers were used to record stream temperatures at nine locations identified in Table 1. All nine dataloggers were deployed on June 7 th and removed throughout October. The dataloggers were installed in the stream bed at each location and anchored using steel spikes and plastic zip ties. Stream bed locations were selected to provide shading from direct sunlight (where possible) and ensure adequate water depth to keep the datalogger fully submerged throughout the summer. This setting however was not attainable for TW008; data for this location will not be discussed due to the datalogger being exposed to the air on several occasions. The dataloggers were programmed to record stream temperature at one hour intervals and synchronized to commence logging at the same date and time. Refer to Figure 1 for monitoring station locations within Twelve Mile Creek. Data collected was analyzed in two ways. First box and whisker plots were created. This was done to determine how much data fell within the optimum range for Brook Trout. The charts also show maximum temperature which can be used to determine which sites exceed the lethal limit for Brook Trout. Second, modified nomograms were created to observe the stream thermal stability and identify the thermal regime of each creek. The method used to create this figure was taken from Stoneman and Jones (1996), where a simple method to classify stream thermal stability with single observations of daily maximum air temperatures and water temperatures at 1600 hours from July 1 to September 10. Their method determines whether a watercourse is to be classified as coldwater, coolwater or warmwater. Air temperature data for this analysis was obtained from Environment Canada s web page which had data from a Welland-Pelham station (Enviroment Canada, 2013). This station was chosen due to the proximity to the study. 5

7 Table 1: Stream temperature monitoring stations for Twelve Mile Creek STATION WATERSHED LOCATION DESCRIPTION TW000 St. John s Located within Marlene Stewart Striet Park TW001 St. John s Located on Pelham Street at Overholt Road TW002 Effingham Located on Effingham Street at Sulphur Spring Drive TEMPERATURE LOGGER LOCATIONS LAUNCH DATE REMOVAL DATE (UTM S) , June 7, 2013 October 9, , June 7, 2013 October 25, , June 7, 2013 October 7, 2013 TW003 St. John s Located off McSherry Lane , June 7, 2013 October 15, 2013 TW004 Effingham Located on Metler Road at Haist Street , June 7, 2013 October 25, 2013 TW005 St. John s PWQMN station located at the , June 7, 2013 October 15, 2013 confluence on Roland Road TW006 Effingham PWQMN station located at the , June 7, 2013 October 25, 2013 confluence on Roland Road TW Mile PWQMN station located on , June 7, 2013 October 9, 2013 Creek Decew Road TW Mile Creek Located on Cataract Road , June 7, 2013 October 9,

8 Figure 1: Map showing temperature logger locations in Twelve Mile Creek 7

9 4.0 Results Table 2 below is a summary of all data collected excluding TW008 which was not considered due to air exposure. The data below is calculated using all of the data collected, and is not just from the summer months. Table 2: Summary of data collected for Twelve Mile Creek with the exception of TW008, June-October DATA REPORTED IN C TW000 TW001 TW002 TW003 TW004 TW005 TW006 TW007 Mean temperature Standard deviation Minimum temperature th Percentile th Percentile Median th Percentile th Percentile Maximum temperature St. John s Tributaries Stream temperature was monitored in the St. John s tributary of Twelve Mile creek at four stations from June 2013 to October A summary of the temperature data is provided in Figure 2. Figure 2 is a box and whisker plot, the box represents where 50% of the temperature values fall, the line within the box represents the median value and the whiskers represent the minimum and maximum values that were recorded over the time period that the dataloggers were installed. The stations are located on the bottom and represent upstream to downstream locations moving from left to right respectively. The red line represents the lethal temperature limit of 24 o C for Brook Trout and the green line represents the optimal temperature range of 13 o C to 17 o C (Coker et al. 2001). Figure 2 demonstrates that there is heating in excess of the optimal range of 17 o C at all four stations. Two stations recorded heating in excess of the lethal limit of 24 o C, TW001 and TW005 had maximum values of o C and o C respectively. TW000 and TW003 had the least amount of variation in their thermal stability, with 50% of the temperature values falling within the optimal range for providing good trout habitat. This can be attributed to their close proximity to groundwater discharge areas. TW001 and TW005 had both their median values fall within the optimal range for trout habitat. 8

10 Figure 2: Box and whisker plot for St. John s tributary stations. Figure 3 (below) is a scatter plot nomogram that represents the classification of stream thermal stability. Maximum daily air temperature was plotted against the corresponding water temperature at 1600 hrs from July 1 to September 10, 2013 according to procedures described by Stoneman and Jones (1996). Using this method the majority of the data points for the St. John s Tributaries TW001, and TW005 fall within the the coolwater classification and the data points for TW000 and TW003 fall within the coldwater classification. Using the maximum daily air temperature recorded of 32.4 o C on July 16, 2013, it can be seen that the stations fall within their respective thermal stability classifications. 9

11 Figure 3: Thermal Stability - modified nomogram showing coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater classifications for St. John s tributaries. 4.2 Effingham Tributaries and Twelve Mile Creek Stream temperature was monitored in the Effingham tributaries of Twelve Mile Creek at three stations and one station on Twelve Mile Creek main channel from June to October, A summary of the data collected is provided in Figure 4. Figure 4 is a box and whisker plot, where the box represents 50% of the temperature values, the line within the box represents the median value and the whiskers represent the minimum and maximum values that were recorded over the time period that the dataloggers were installed. The stations are located on the bottom and represent upstream to downstream locations moving from left to right respectively. The red line represents the lethal temperature limit of 24 o C for Brook trout and the green line represents the optimal temperature range of 17 o C. Figure 4 shows that there is heating in excess of the lethal temperature at Effingham tributary station TW006 and Twelve Mile Creek main channel station TW007. Maximum temperature values for these stations were o C and o C respectively. Effingham tributary stations TW002 and TW004 were under the lethal maximum temperature with their medians falling within the optimal temperature range of 13 o C to 17 o C for Brook Trout habitat. The main channel for Twelve Mile Creek (TW007) had the greatest variation in thermal stability, less than 50% of the temperature values fall within the optimal temperature range. This can be a result of changes in the channel morphology (ie. Increased channel size), diminished groundwater discharge and a reduced riparian buffer. The method used in Figure 4 was also applied to characterize the thermal stability for the Effingham tributaries and Twelve Mile Creek main channel. 10

12 Figure 4: Box and whisker plot for Effingham tributary stations. In Figure 5 (below) maximum daily temperatures were plotted against water temperatures at 1600 hrs from July 1 to September St. John s tributary stations TW002, TW004, and TW006 fell within the coolwater thermal classification. Using the maximum air temperature plotted against the water temperature at 1600hrs for that day the thermal classification for TW007 is warmwater. 11

13 Figure 5: Thermal Stability - modified nomogram showing coldwater, coolwater and warmwater classifications for Effingham tributaries. 12

14 5.0 Analysis Largely, there are no major differences in temperature data from 2006, 2011, and Some data is unavailable from There are a few changes in classification from 2011, and some warming trends were observed. TW003 had lower maximum temperatures and was classified as coldwater, while TW007 is now classified as warmwater according to 2013 data. While numbers tended to be quite similar, there appears to be a warming trend overall. Figure 6 and Figure 7 below show the maximum water temperature and mean water temperature during summer months for Twelve Mile Creek in 2006, 2011, and Figure 6: Twelve Mile Creek maximum water temperatures, July 1- September , 2011, and Maximum temperatures are closely related at all stations. TW000 had the most drastic change, as maximum temperature dropped significantly from TW003 maximum temperature in 2013 was closer to 2006, suggesting that 2011 may have been an outlier due to higher air temperatures. TW006 13

15 has decreased every study year, while TW007 has increased every study year leading to warmwater classification. According to Environment Canada, maximum and average temperatures during the summer of 2011 were slightly higher than in 2006 and Despite this, only a few stations had the highest maximum water temperature in 2011, suggesting there may be a warming trend in some creeks. Figure 7: Twelve Mile Creek mean water temperatures, July 1- September , 2011, and Mean water temperatures were highest in 2011 at all sites except for TW mean temperatures were the lowest. This coincides with historic temperature data from Environment Canada, suggesting that creek temperatures are influenced largely by air temperature. Figure 8 below shows the influence of air temperature on water temperature in It is evident that fluctuations in air temperature heavily influence water temperature. This suggests that there may not be enough protection along Twelve Mile Creek to prevent warming due to air temperature. Actions need to be taken to prevent such a large influence and protect groundwater sources. This can be done by increasing vegetation along streams. 14

16 Figure 8: Influence of air temperature on stream temperature during summer months. Figure 8 demonstrates the influence of air temperature on water temperature (as discussed above). When analyzing the figure, one can see that TW000 and TW003 (the two coldwater streams) have the largest difference. TW001, TW005, and TW007 have the least difference. This shows that coldwater streams have more protections from air temperature fluctuations. This is due to groundwater influence as well as vegetation and coverage. Creeks that have a low difference such as TW005 or TW007 may be exposed to sunlight causing temperatures to rise with air temperature. The new classification of TW003 could be due to a few factors. Placement of the logger could have a big influence on logger readings. If the logger was placed in a deeper pool it is likely to yield lower readings. The other reason may be due to vegetation and coverage. The logger may be placed in a covered area which will also lower stream temperature readings. TW007 went up to warmwater classification. This is alarming as it shows a trend towards less habitatble streams for Brook Trout. This may be attributed to changing landscape due to human activity. Human activity may influence stream temperatures by increased channel size, diminished groundwater discharge, and reduced riparian buffer. 15

17 Warmer temperatures found in some locations are also due to upstream influences. For example, warm temperatures at TW001 may be due to holding time in ponds upstream. These ponds are leftover from a former cannery. Holding time in these ponds means temperature increases before it goes back into the stream system and eventually ends up at TW Conclusions The data collected as part of the 2013 Twelve Mile Creek stream temperature monitoring program indicates that summer stream temperatures exceed the optimal range for Brook Trout at several locations in the St. John s and Effingham tributaries of upper Twelve Mile Creek. Maximum stream temperature data was found to exceed the lethal temperature limit for Brook Trout at four locations. Six stations were also identified to have 90 th percentile that exceeded the outer limit of the optimal temperature range. Table 2 in section 4.0 is a summary of the full data set collected from June 7 to October Since 2011 there have been two changes in classification. TW003 is now classified as a coldwater stream and was previously classified as coolwater. TW007 was classified as coolwater in 2011 and is now considered warmwater according to 2013 data. A review of the 2013 stream temperature data indicates the following: TW000 and TW003 were the only stations identified as coldwater in Twelve Mile Creek. TW001, TW002, TW004, TW005, and TW006 were identified as coolwater streams. TW007 was identified as a warmwater stream. Prior to 2013, it was considered to be a coolwater stream. Maximum temperatures are in excess of Brook Trout s optimal range of 13 o C to 17 o C at all stations with four stations (TW001, TW005, TW006, and TW007) recording maximum temperatures that exceeded the lethal limit for Brook Trout. In 2011, TW003 was classified as coolwater. According to 2013 data, TW003 is a coldwater stream. Mean water temperatures increased at all sites in 2013, slightly decreasing at one site, TW006. Maximum water temperature decreased in 2013 at TW000, TW003, and TW006. Maximum water temperature increased at TW002, TW004, TW005, and TW007. It remained the same at TW001. Parts of the upper Twelve Mile Creek watershed support Brook Trout as they have temperatures that largely fall within optimal water temperatures and are lower than the lethal limit. However, there are some stretches which exceed these levels and may cause distress to the Brook Trout leading to lack of reproduction or disappearance of populations. 16

18 6.1 Error Missing data may be a significant source of error in the study. A culprit for missing data is air exposure. For example, the 2011 and 2013 studies both do not include TW008 as in both cases the logger was exposed to the air during the dry summer months. Data from 2006 did not entirely match 2011 and The study in 2006 looked at ponds upstream of various sites and targeted different areas. Where possible, data was used to compare findings. A logger malfunction in 2006 also prevented any data collection at TW004. Logger location and placement may also contribute to varied results. Technicians may place loggers in different locations, for example, one year a logger may be placed in a shady area, and the next year it may be placed in a spot with less shade. It is important to outline where loggers should be placed in order to achieve consistency study year to study year. 6.2 Future Considerations Future studies need to be conducted on a minimum biennial basis. It is imperative studies are conducted to keep track of any temperature fluctuations and determine which areas need attention. In order to identify trends it is important to have a large data set. Stewardship must keep working with landowners in the Twelve Mile Creek watershed to restore riparian zones and continue best practices. Continuation of regular benthic and chemical monitoring is also important. Other types of loggers such as conductivity loggers would also be beneficial in the Twelve Mile Creek watershed. Monitoring conductivity can help locate areas of high runoff which will affect fish and benthic communities. In terms of study methods, a new location for the logger should be found at TW008 to prevent air exposure during dry spells. Consistent logger location is also something that should be addressed to achieve consistent results. 17

19 7.0 References Coker, G.A., C.B. Portt and C.K. Minns Morphological and Ecological Characteristics of Canadian Freshwater Fishes. Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2554: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. Environment Canada, Accessed February Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), Twelve Mile Creek Temperature Monitoring: 2006 Summary Report. Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Welland, Ontario. Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), Twelve Mile Creek Temperature Monitoring: 2011 Summary Report. Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Welland, Ontario. Stoneman, Christine, and Michael Jones, A Simple Method to Classify Stream Thermal Stability with Single Observations of Daily Maximum Water and Air Temperatures. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 16:

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