Swift Current Creek
Watershed Stewards

Swift Current Creek
Monitoring Project 2017

The 2017 Swift Current Creek Monitoring Project (SCCMP) gathered water quality, riparian health, fish population and health, and macroinvertebrate population data at sites along the Swift Current Creek (SCC). The results generated were analyzed to determine water quality and watershed health within the Swift Current Creek Watershed (SCCW) in 2017. These results were also compared to those generated in 2007 to determine if changes in land use and management within the watershed over the last ten years have had an impact on water quality and watershed health.

Swift Current Creek Water Monitoring Project 2017
In 2017 it was decided that since it marked the 10th year anniversary of the SCCWS monitoring projects that another extensive study should be done to check on the health of the Swift Current Creek. SCCWS wanted to find out if the creek has been maintained, decreased, or increased in health by looking at water quality, riparian health, and bio-assessments which included fish and benthic macroinvertebrates.

Water quality showed that some areas along the Swift Current Creek may be impaired, but otherwise acceptable. Samples were taken throughout the summer and then compared to those taken in the same locations from 2004-2007.  SCCWS has developed a new study for 2018 to look at the problem sites to try and determine what is causing the decrease in water quality.

Riparian Health Assessments showed that many sites have not changed significantly over the last ten years, with the majority of the sites falling into the "healthy with problems" category of scores. One site was found to be maintained as "healthy" in the 2017 study.

The fish population study looked at two species for health, reproduction, and condition factors. These species were the White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) and Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas).  Both were found to have stable populations and good condition factors. Fish diversity was also high at many of the monitoring sites, and included many minnow species and sport fish such as Northern Pike (Esox lucius) and Walleye (Sander vitreus).

Benthic macroinvertebrates are very important in telling us the health of a waterbody. Many species have different tolerances to pollution and sedimentation, so depending on what is found it can help determine the health of a site. Benthic macroinvertebrates were found with acceptable populations along the creek with the exception of one site which was deemed as impaired. In terms of the entirety of the Swift Current Creek, however, the health is deemed as acceptable.

SCCWS wishes to thank the 2017 funding support:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
City of Swift Current
RM of Bone Creek no.108
RM of Carmichael no. 109
RM of Excelsior no. 166
RM of Lac Pelletier no. 107
RM of Swift Current no. 137
RM of Webb no. 138
Water Security Agency
Whitecap Resources Inc

SCCWS would also like to thank all of our volunteers who helped with the 2017 project.
View the final SCCMP 2017 report . For more information or data please contact us

Swift Current Creek
Monitoring Project 2013

A Comparative Biomonitoring Assessment on the Macroinvertebrate Communities and Populations in Relation to the Operation of the Swift Current Waste Water Treatment Plant

When you have a creek that flows from agricultural use to urban use back to agricultural there tends to be finger pointing. The SCC monitoring program initiated in 2004 was meant to alleviate that finger pointing. It is difficult to place blame when we don’t even know if there is a problem. The four year bio-assessment monitoring project was meant to discover if there was a water quality issue within the watershed and if the creek was healthy.

While the creek system is a dynamic entity with geographic differences and annual variability related to flows, spring break-up, rainfall/drought events, winters and human impacts, the results of the monitoring project were clear. Statistical data indicated that stream health in the SCC appears to be in good condition. In fact, over the study period some improvements were seen at numerous sites. The study did, however, show areas which need improvement. The SCCWS have continued to evaluate the issues identified in the study and we make decisions on ways to make improvements at the sites where they occur. Projects such as the Agri-Environmental Technical Services (AETS) support these changes in the adoption of Beneficial Management Practices.

The 2013 monitoring project was meant to answer only one question. “Has the macroinvertebrate community improved since the city of Swift Current implemented the wastewater treatment plant?”

During the first week of September 2013 the Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards launched a biomonitoring project in the Swift Current Creek (SCC). Questions arose resulting from a three-year monitoring project that was completed in 2007, in regards to the health of the macroinvertebrate communities downstream of the Swift Current Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and previous effluent discharges.

Upstream and downstream sites were chosen to compare significant differences. In 2006 the Swift Current Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was brought into operation and species diversity and ecosystem health was left to recover for six years until monitoring began in 2013. Prior to 2006, the city of Swift Current periodically released raw effluent into the SCC.

SCCWS would like to acknowledge our funding partners for the 2013 monitoring project:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
City of Swift Current
Water Security Agency

 View the 2013 report. All data and references are readily available! Please contact us for more information.

Swift Current Creek
Monitoring Project 2004-2008

The project was designed to assess the health of our watershed using two types of analyses: water quality index (What is the Saskatchewan Water Quality Index?) and bioassessment. Within the bioassessment methods, we used fish surveys, benthic macroinvertebrate surveys and riparian assessments.

Fish assessments were conducted for the first time upstream of the plant, creating a benchmark of diversity for subsequent sampling. Populations were assessed using body condition (length vs. weight), length frequency distributions, and a 1-way ANOVA on sentential species of white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) and fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Downstream individuals showed healthy young of the year dominated populations and more species diversity. Diversity using the Simpson’s Index had D=1.054 for upstream and D=0.3821 downstream; indicating ecosystem shifts of diversity.

Macroinvertebrates showed a healthy rating downstream with a total species abundance value of D=2.5 within biological confidence interval grouping and upstream is border line stressed with D=2.7 and not within biological confidence grouping.

The results of the monitoring program are only as good of quality as the sampling methods, extreme care was taken in training staff and volunteers to ensure consistency and reliability throughout the sampling seasons. Saskatchewan Environment, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (Now Water Security Agency), Environment Canada, and Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) assisted with the monitoring projects with volunteers and/or trained staff.

The SCCWS are working hard to develop numerous partnerships with federal and provincial government agencies, municipal government representatives and local communities businesses and interest groups.

The third year of the project (2006), was funded through:
Town of Shaunavon
Talisman Energy
RM of Webb No. 138
RM of Arlington No. 79
RM of Excelsior No. 166
RM of Carmichael No. 109
RM of Swift Current No. 137
RM of Sask Landing No. 167
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
Swift Current Wildlife Federation
Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
City of Swift Current
Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization

View the Swift Current Creek Watershed Monitoring Project Final Report.  All data from the 2004-2007 project is also available.  Please contact us for more information.


Executive Director : Kevin Steinley
Email: kevin.sccws@gmail.com


Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards
Box 1088
Swift Current, SK
S9H 3X3
Phone: (306)-741-2240

We are located in the LB Thompson Building; Gate #2 on Airport Road at the Research Station

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