Biomonitoring techniques use living organisms to assess water quality and ecosystem health. These studies rely on the response of living organisms to reveal changes in the ecosystem. Biomonitoring assumes that aquatic organisms are natural monitors of stresses placed on ecosystems and that responses to stresses are measurable.
The aquatic community of the St. Clair River contains several biological levels; these levels include bacteria, plankton, aquatic plants, benthic organisms and fish. Since the 1950s, the Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association, the Ministry of Environment and others have been actively monitoring these life forms in the river. Biomonitoring studies have assessed the health of aquatic plants and animals in locations upstream from the Sarnia area industries as well as those that are located downstream.
Examples of St. Clair River Species That Have Been Studied.