Come Along for a Day of Learning
Join CVC’s Emily Stacy, a Technician in our Watershed Monitoring department as she shares a typical day of forest monitoring. Come along!
My two team members and I grab our equipment and load up the work truck to head to Caledon. In late summer, we visit different forests in the Credit River Watershed to collect plant community data, as part of our Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program (IWMP).
Through IWMP, we study conditions and trends in the health of our watershed’s ecosystems. We have been monitoring today’s forest station for ten years.
We arrive at our monitoring station and the team splits up. I collect regeneration data on the shrubs and young trees by recording the species, number and height of the stems. I check the five subplots around the station. This tells us what trees might grow in the future to take the place of current ones.
The other team members record information on the fallen logs that they encounter. Fallen logs provide important habitat for animals and return nutrients to the forest floor. They find an American toad nestled in a hole in one of the logs.
Next, we assess and record the health of the trees within our station. We examine trees for signs of disease or insect damage and measure the diameter of the trees at approximately four feet from the ground. We use binoculars to look for any concerning signs in the tree canopy and use a device that can measure its height.
We check eastern hemlock trees for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that is relatively new to Ontario but has not yet been found in our watershed. Luckily, we see no signs. We note two dead ash trees as a result of emerald ash borer (EAB) and a diseased American beech tree. Apart from these two species, most of the trees within the forest station are healthy.
We finish data collection and as we head back to the truck, enjoy the sound of the cicadas and the sight of colourful mushrooms and variety of ferns that cover the forest floor. We drive back to the office where we break for lunch.
I finish the day with data entry on the computer and office meetings.
I am fortunate to be a part of the IWMP team. I appreciate that my job involves data collection that allows CVC to answer important questions about the health of our ecosystems and how best to manage our ecosystems into the future. I look forward to visiting another forest tomorrow.
To learn more about the health of the watershed’s forests, wetlands, streams and groundwater, visit our interactive IWMP StoryMap Collection.
By CVC’s Emily Stacy, Technician, Watershed Monitoring