The water quality monitoring activities of the Association are carried out according to the protocols of the Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs (RSVL)1 of the Quebec ministry responsible for environment (in 2019, the "ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques" - MELCCC2). Based on the relevant protocols and schedules, the Association to date :
- takes water samples,
- measures water transparency,
- monitors the growth of periphyton, and
- as needed, visually tracks blue-green algae bloom and, if necessary, take a water sample.
The following paragraphs provide a brief description of these protocols with in each case a direct link to the protocol itself and related documents on the Ministry’s website. These and other documents can also be accessed via the RSVL homepage3.
Water Quality Sampling Protocol
This protocol was developed for use by associations and organizations who want to track the eutrophication of their lakes by measuring the quality of their water through the RSVL program.
To obtain analytical results that are representative of the quality of a lake's water, it is important that sampling be done in a methodical and rigorous manner. This protocol details the procedures to be followed and the measures required to take samples properly.
To access the document, click here.
A plasticized field instruction card is provided for reference in the field; to view a copy, click here.
Volunteers are also provided with detailed instructions for shipping samples.
Water Transparency Measuring Protocol
This protocol was developed for associations and organizations who want to measure the transparency of lake water using a Secchi disk.
By measuring water transparency on a regular basis, one can monitor the evolution of this indicator over time. A change in water transparency indicates a change in the overall state of the lake. Water transparency is one of the indicators used to evaluate the eutrophication of a lake.
To access the document, click here.
A plasticized instruction card is provided for reference in the field; to view a copy, click here.
Data Collection Sheet
A data collection sheet is also sent to all associations and organizations participating in the RSVL program for the recording of observations made in the field. This sheet is to be returned to the applicable agency at the end of the monitoring period. For the Association's translation of the text, click here; for the original French version, click here. It is also possible to enter the transparency measures on-line directly on the Ministry's website via the RELAIS, the RSVL's activity management computer system.
Periphyton Monitoring Protocol
This protocol was developed for use by associations and organizations who want to track the eutrophication of their lakes by monitoring the growth of periphyton in shallow waters near the shoreline. Periphyton growth has been linked directly to the inflow of human-generated phosphorus into a waterway, and can be one of the first signs of the nutrient enrichment of a lake.
By monitoring periphyton growth over a number of years, one can get a more timely idea of how quickly a lake is aging.
For the Association's English translation of the June 2012 edition, click here.
Support Document for the Periphyton Monitoring Protocol
To assist in the implementation of the protocol, RSVL has produced a support document which provides images and detailed examples on how to recognize, measure, characterize, and record periphyton observations. For the Association's English translation of the June 2012 edition, click here.
As a memory aid, RSVL has produced a one page field instruction card to assist in the execution of the protocol. This sheet summarizes the major steps to be taken while in the field. For the Association's English translation of the text, click here.
Periphyton Spreadsheet File
To help simplify the recording and transfer of the data collected in accordance with the periphyton protocol, RSVL has developed an Excel spreadsheet file in which associations can record the location of their sample sites, their observations, and the measurements they've taken. A copy of the completed spreadsheet file is to be forwarded to RSVL so that the latter can capture province-wide data.
To download the Association's English translation of the spreadsheet file, click here. Please note that the file comprises a summary of important reminders, an information sheet on which the sample site locations are to be recorded, and a separate data collection form for each site.
Protocol For the Visual Tracking of a Blue-Green Algae Bloom
This protocol was developed for use by organizations and individuals who would like to visually track a blue-green algae bloom. The protocol can be applied to an entire waterway or to only those sections affected by a bloom. The objective of the protocol is to locate, characterize, and track the evolution of a bloom.
Please click here for the Association's English translation of the May 2009 edition at the end of which (after page 26) a supporting document provides pictures to assist in the identification/characterization of blue-green algae blooms. For the original French version, click here.
RSVL has provided a simplified adaptation of the protocol as an aide-mémoire for the field. For the Association's English translation of the text, click here. For the original French version, click here.
Taking a Sample from Blue-Green Algae Bloom
The provincial ministry responsible for the environment might ask to take a sample from a blue-green algae bloom. The Protocol developed for this purpose defines where and when to do it, and indicates the steps to follow. Also included is the observation form which should accompany the sample. To view the translation of this protocol, click here.
1. The “Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs” can be translated litterally as “Volunteer Lake Monitoring Network”. The Ministry chose the more commonly used expression of “Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program”, abbreviated “VLMP” which may appear in some of the Ministry's documentation. The Association chose to retain “RSVL” for the English version of its own documentation.
3. To access the English version of the RSVL’s website directly from your browser, you should search for “VLMP - Quebec”.