The data rescue intern:
The Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is located in southern Ontario, Canada where visitors enjoy many outdoor activities, such as camping and canoeing. The Kawartha Highlands includes many small lakes and wetlands and is a short distance from major population centres such as Toronto Ontario and as a result is a popular destination in the summer. As such, it is important and useful to monitor both the health of its water bodies and understand potential effects of human activity.
Thirty-four lakes in or near the park were sampled by Dr. Paul Frost’s lab from the department of biology at Trent University, to examine patterns of water quality. These data will be used to assess current patterns and serve as a benchmark in future sampling years. The purpose of this Living Data Project was to format and combine these Kawartha Lakes water quality datasets from different years so that they may be made available through DataStream, an open access online platform for sharing data on freshwater health in Canada.
Some challenges we encountered during this project were making sure that measurements of the same type were in the same unit, grouping the same lakes together when names had different spellings, as well as making sure that the datasets were in the format needed for uploading to DataStream. This included adding columns specifying the instruments and methods used to analyse samples and generating metadata. These data are available at https://doi.org/10.25976/s8fc-td24. Among other helpful features, DataStream allows you to view the evolution of characteristics such as pH and nutrients, over time on graphs and view sampling locations on a map.
Better understanding of aquatic ecosystems within the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park can help mitigate potential human effects on the landscape and embedded water bodies, as well as bring awareness to the environmental importance of these freshwater ecosystems. This Living Data Project was done in partnership with The Gordon Foundation.