National Hydrology Research Centre (NHRC)
The National Hydrology Research Centre (NHRC) located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, accommodates ECCC scientific, technical and administrative staff from the Air and Water Science and Technology Directorates and the Meteorological Service of Canada.
Aquatic Contaminant and Water Hydrology and Ecology research and technical staff at NHRC undertake laboratory and field activities which generate scientific data, related information and tools aimed to assist in sustaining Canada’s ecosystems. Hydrological and ecological information gathered from studies in rivers and lakes in the Canadian North enable scientists to better understand and predict the impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic disturbances on sensitive aquatic systems. Studies focused on the impacts of climate variability on major cryospheric and hydrologic processes (e.g., ice-jam flooding), groundwater availability and sustainability, and the effects of emerging contaminants on food webs in lakes and streams, inform the development of adaptation strategies to protect key/vulnerable water resources and aquatic ecosystems. New mass spectrometric methods to identify toxic components (e.g., pharmaceuticals, naphthenic acids) in natural wetlands, soils and vegetation and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the development of bioindicators of stressors on benthic organisms are both examples of analytical tools developed to support the assessment of cumulative effects and risks to aquatic ecosystems.
Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Surveillance scientists report on the status and trends of water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the Athabasca/Artic Watershed basins. Extensive field activities are supported by multiple in-house laboratory facilities for field preparation, benthic invertebrate processing and identification (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network), and specialized chemical analysis.
The National Laboratory for Environmental Testing (NLET-Saskatoon) provides ISO 17025 chemical analyses to ECCC water quality monitoring and research programs. NHRC’s hydrology and ecology stable isotope lab specializes in the measurement of environmental stable isotope tracers for cumulative effects based ecological and hydrological research.
NHRC research and monitoring activities support ECCC’s obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Fisheries Act through participation in government science programs including the Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative and the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.