The goal of this study is to compare the seasonal variability of 12 physicochemical characteristics of waters in the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers (SLR). Water samples were collected on board the research vessel Lampsillis in the spring (May), summer (August), and fall (October) of 2006 at four stations located downstream from the confluence of the two rivers. Temperature and total nitrogen values varied significantly for the three seasons. In contrast, seasonal values of light extinction coefficient and turbidity do not show any significant variation. The values of the other characteristics varied significantly only for one season. Comparison of these data with those measured in 1994–1996 reveals a net warming of the waters and a significant increase in nitrite-nitrate concentrations due to the increasing use of nitrogen-bearing fertilizers by farmers in Quebec. Concentrations of these two substances are higher than the limits set by the government of Quebec for water quality in rivers.
Part of the book: Achievements and Challenges of Integrated River Basin Management