The study included visits to the river on three days, one in the spring, one in the summer, and one in the fall. During each of these visits aquatic 'bugs' were collected, identified, and then released at three locations along the creek. In total 947 bugs were collected.
In 2018 Jesse Fieldwebster volunteered his time to complete a Water Quality Baseline Document Report for Old Man's Creek. Valerie Fieldwebster assisted Jesse and helped coordinate the participation of students from Canadore College and Nipissing University. See the full study here.
The 'aquatic bugs' indicate the health of the creek, based on three variables, the variety or biodiversity, as well as which bugs are dominant, and the number of sensitive bugs (also known as EPT bugs).
EPT bugs are mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies. These are sensitive bugs and require clean, clear, highly oxygenated water. Old Man's Creek had a EPT of 47%. While the EPT percentage should not be used on its own to evaluate the water quality, generally the higher a number the better. By comparison, a group of 50 lakes evaluated by the District of Muskoka had an average EPT of 22%.
Unfortunately August 2018 was classified as abnormally dry followed by a couple of extreme rain events just before the fall sampling date. This resulted in a population crash at the sampling site just below the dam. Jesse has recommended that we re-sample this site in the fall of 2019.