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Annapolis River Guardians
CARP is seeking a new River Guardian for the Wilmot Station starting immediately! If you would like to volunteer for this important citizen science project please contact us at 532-7533 or 1-888-547-4344. Please see below for details on the project. The time commitment required is a sampling event at noon every second Sunday from June – October. Training and sampling equipment provided.

View the latest water quality updates

Who are The Annapolis River Guardians?

The Annapolis River Guardians began monitoring the Annapolis River and its tributaries in September 1992, in the first water quality monitoring program of its kind in Eastern Canada. The data collected by the River Guardians provides an overview of the river's health and identifies key environmental problems within the Annapolis River and its tributaries.



What are the objectives of the Annapolis River Guardians Project?

There are four main objectives:
  1. To establish and support a regular observation system which will provide an early warning of environmental problems;
  2. To provide a long term record of the river's health;
  3. To develop interest in the Annapolis River and community stewardship to ensure a viable resource for future generations; and
  4. To provide a knowledgeable group of local individuals who can promote the preservation, rehabilitation, and use of these estuarine resources in the future.
Who makes this project possible?

The volunteers are the lifeblood of the program. During the first two years funding was received from the Environmental Partners Fund. Over its life, the program has been supported by a number of partners, including Farmers Cooperative Dairy Ltd., Nova Scotia Power, Investors Group, Collaboration of Community Foundation for the Gulf of Maine, Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP), Acadia Center of Estuarine Research and the Nova Scotia Department of Environment.


River Guardian Testing a Sample
Further support is gained from a group of knowledgeable individuals who make up the Science Advisory Group. This group, composed of representatives from East Coast Aquatics, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, NS Department of Environment, and the Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research, provides input on the study design, methodology and the analysis of results.

Who are the Annapolis River Guardians?

The Annapolis River Guardians are the volunteers that make the program work. They are members of the communities within the Annapolis River Watershed who are interested in the quality of their environment. Their ranks include engineers, business people, homemakers, craftsmen, teachers and students.

Since 1992, the program has trained nearly 100 individuals in water quality monitoring techniques.

Sampling Sites and Variables


River Guardian Recording Data
Since the beginning of the program in 1992, there have been many changes to the Annapolis River Guardian Program. Over 50 sites throughout the watershed have been monitored, seven of which have been monitored annually since the start of the program. Sampling occurs fortnightly during the spring, summer and autumn. During January through March, sampling is discontinued due to freeze up.

The parameters monitored by the Annapolis River Guardians have varied throughout the years. The following parameters have been monitored continuously since the start of the program: fecal coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, air and water temperature, and weather conditions. Additional parameters that have been sampled periodically include: nitrate, chlorophyll, chloride, sulphate, pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity, total suspended solids, colour and transparency.

What have the River Guardians found from the data?

In general, the Annapolis River is quite healthy. The most obvious environmental concern is the presence of fecal coliform bacteria that may indicate the presence of harmful bacteria and viruses. Unlike many rivers in Nova Scotia, the pH (a measure of acidity) of the Annapolis River is relatively good due to natural buffering provided by the geology of the watershed. Dissolved oxygen in the river has been consistently high except in the lower, tidal, portion of the watershed, where levels have been observed to drop significantly in the late summer and early autumn.

Every year, the water quality monitoring results are analyzed and prepared into two documents. The first is the Annapolis Watershed 2009 REPORT CARD, which provides a short (four page) summary of recent water quality results. The methodology used in preparing the annual Report Card can be viewed here. The second document is the Annapolis River 2009 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report, which provides a more comprehensive review (+40 pages) of water quality status and trends in the watershed.

Is it too late to help?

No. If you are interested in becoming a River Guardian or would just like to help, please contact us.

You can help ensure the health of the river by following some simple river friendly practices:
  • Ensure that your on-site septic system is working properly and is well maintained.
  • Restrict livestock from waterways and maintain vegetation along the river banks.
  • Ensure that household hazardous waste products are disposed of properly.
  • Use water reduction devices throughout your home and practice water conservation.
  • Pick up debris when walking along the river bank.

Project Reports

Annapolis River 2011 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2010 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2009 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2008 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2007 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2006 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2005 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2004 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2003 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis River 2002 Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report
Annapolis Watershed 2012 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2011 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2010 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2009 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2008 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2007 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2006 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2005 REPORT CARD
Annapolis Watershed 2004 REPORT CARD
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