Three citizen science water quality monitoring hubs are now testing the water and sharing water quality results with swimmers and boaters on the Great Lakes through Swim Guide, a free app and website.

“Most people believe the Great Lakes should be protected, but they don’t know what to do,” said Mark Mattson, president and waterkeeper at Swim Drink Fish. “The new monitoring hubs give people the knowledge and tools they need to better understand the health of the places they love to swim and boat. By promoting transparency and public participation, we can ultimately ensure swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for everyone.”

The water quality monitoring hubs were created by Swim Drink Fish with 1.8-million dollars in funding assistance from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative. Volunteers help hub coordinators collect water samples in places where people swim, boat, and hold ceremonial activities.

Swim Drink Fish analyzes the samples and tells the community if the water meets established standards for recreational water quality. The results are published in the Swim Guide, which is available at www.theswimguide.org or through an app that is available for Apple and Android devices.

These hubs are part of a four-year demonstration project meant to engage underserved communities on the Great Lakes in water quality monitoring, data-sharing, and stewardship. Swim Drink Fish’s goal is to invent a scalable, sustainable model for ongoing water quality monitoring in Great Lakes communities. The hubs are also supported in part by the Anishinabek Nation and IDEXX.

Swim Drink Fish established the first monitoring hub in downtown Toronto through its Lake Ontario Waterkeeper initiative. The second hub launched in the fall of 2018 on Manitoulin Island and is hosted by  Zhiibaahaasing First Nation. The third hub was established in Spring 2019, on the north shore of Lake Erie in the Niagara region.

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Swim Drink Fish staff monitoring in Fort Erie on Lake Erie. Image Credit: Swim Drink Fish.
Swim Drink Fish staff monitoring in Fort Erie on Lake Erie. Image Credit: Swim Drink Fish.

The Lake Erie – Niagara hub is hosted by the Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative and Niagara College, and will be located at the college’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Samples will be collected weekly in Niagara and Zhiibaahaasing First Nation and twice a week in Toronto. Local residents can volunteer or donate to support the monitoring hubs by visiting www.swimdrinkfish/citizen-science.

Swim Drink Fish is a Canadian charity connecting people with water.

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