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 Group Plan (AEGP) 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.
Adobe Acrobat File SCCMP 2013 (5.1MB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site H60 Macroinvertebrate Data (811KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site H60 Fish Data (102KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site D70 Fish Data (161KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site D70 Macroinvertebrate Data (804KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Riparian Assessments (2.2MB)
Adobe Acrobat File Water Quality Data (72KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site D70 Hydrometric Data (206KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Site D70 Hydrometric Data (210KB)
Adobe Acrobat File Macroinvertebrate Protocols (5.6MB)
Adobe Acrobat File Water Security Agency BMI Data (12KB)


The project is 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.
The Swift Current Creek Watershed Monitoring Project Final Report is available to be viewed online.
Water Sampling
Riparian Assessment
Fish Sampling
Bug Sampling
Adobe Acrobat File Final Report (1.9MB)
Adobe Acrobat File Final Report -- Appendices (2.2MB)
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 and fathead minnow. 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 will be taken in training staff and volunteers to ensure consistency and reliability throughout the sampling season. Saskatchewan Environment, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, Environment Canada, and Prairie Farm Rehabiliation Administration will also be assisting or training staff in taking sound water samples.
The monitoring project is aimed to answer questions concerning water quality and stream health in the Swift Current Creek Watershed. These questions are:
  • What is the impact of current management practices on the suitability of water for the entire watershed?
  • What is the impact of agricultural management practices on water suitability upstream from the City of Swift Current?
  • What is the impact of the City of Swift Current on water suitability for downstream agricultural users?
A report will be created after each sampling year by the SCCWS staff to update the results and progress of the monitoring project. The yearly reports will not be available to the general public. A special edition each year of Know Your Watershed will highlight some of the interesting discoveries of the yearly reports. The final report after the completion of the four year project will be available to all SCCWS members, local school libraries, government offices and the general public (upon request).
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), will be 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
Copyright © Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards 2018

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