Engaging Riparian Communities in Near Real Time Bio-monitoring of Critical Micro-Catchments: A Case of Lake Bosomtwe, Ghana
Although many studies have documented the use of macro invertebrates in aquatic biomonitoring, far fewer have explored the involvement of local communities in monitoring at Lake Bosomtwe. As an indirect yet relevant consequence, data availability remains a constant challenge in modeling spatio-temporal variability of water quality at Lake Bosomtwe and many other community water sources. This article therefore seeks to present the methodologies, lessons and best practices from the application of participatory GIS in monitoring water quality in near real-time scales. It assesses the water quality parameters that were used and the observed mean variations in point pollution levels around the lake. Multivariate techniques and nonlinear estimation models were combined to assess biological quality. This method allowed us to classify sites according to increasing levels of contamination, after the probabilities of occurrence of taxa along a gradient of contamination taking into account the reference condition. It was observed that distribution of macro invertebrates did not indicate a consistent variation or trend. However, the study showed a consistent relationship between the distribution of macro invertebrates and water temperature and air temperature. Also while Pouch snail showed high temporal consistency, its spatial distribution across the lake is quite poor. The distribution also indicates a R2 value of 0.1798.The results suggest that the method used is sensitive to organic pollution, easy to interpret by ranking species according to their tolerance, and could be a good framework for monitoring near real-time water quality in lakes especially where there is a lack of relevant ecological information.
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