Boundary Bay assessment and monitoring program partners collaborate to protect the environment
Since all our data is in one place and easily accessible and retrievable, we will be able to make informed decisions to protect this important ecosystem
Boundary Bay is located on the border between British Columbia, Canada and Washington, United States. On the Canadian side of the border, it is bounded by the municipalities of Delta, White Rock and Surrey within the Metro Vancouver Region. Boundary Bay is an important stop for migrating birds and has been designated a Hemisphere Reserve by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. During migration times the bird count in the bay may exceed 100,000. The area is also used for recreational boating and includes park areas and beaches. Pollution and industrial activity in the area pose potential threats to human health, fisheries and wildlife.
In 2008, a partnership of agencies was formed to collaborate on monitoring efforts in the Boundary Bay watershed to assess environmental conditions and impacts in the Bay. The partnership consists of Metro Vancouver, Corporation of Delta, City of Surrey, City of White Rock, Port Metro Vancouver BC Ministry of Environment, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, BC Hydro, Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Environment Canada.
Before subscribing to the WaterTrax web-based data management service, each of the partners’ monitoring data was being stored in separate spreadsheets. Although, many of the partners had their own data management systems, they were not web-based and could not be accessed by the other partners. Sharing of monitoring data meant emailing disparate spreadsheets with hundreds of test results to each other and spending countless hours compiling, trending and sorting through the data.
In June of 2009, the partners adopted the WaterTrax service to manage all their water quality, sediment quality, and fish health monitoring results in Boundary Bay. Each partners’ data is identified separately but consolidated in a single database that is accessible to all partners through the internet. “The ease of implementing WaterTrax and having the data readily available to all the partners was a big factor in our decision to use WaterTrax” says Jim Armstrong, Professional Biologist with Metro Vancouver. Due to the nature of the monitoring programs, most samples are sent to a commercial lab for analysis. An added bonus to the partners is that they no longer need to manually enter lab test results because labs can directly enter test results through the WaterTrax lab web interface. “We have saved countless hours in data entry and consolidation by having the labs upload our test results directly into WaterTrax” says Lauren Petersen, City of Surrey.
With WaterTrax, the partners are able to easily extract the data they need to understand the dynamic environmental conditions of the Bay. “Since all our data is in one place and easily accessible and retrievable, we will be able to make informed decisions to protect this important ecosystem” says Brent Moore, BC Ministry of Environment.