Dehcho Region Water Quality Data

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Mercury is a global contaminant that accumulates in organisms, including humans, and can result in many health problems. Eating fish is the primary route by which humans are exposed to mercury, and mercury levels tend to be high in northern regions due to global atmospheric circulation patterns and atmospheric deposition of mercury. Our aim is to understand what the key drivers of fish mercury concentrations are in traditional fishing lakes in the Dehcho region, and how/if these drivers vary predictably among lakes. Furthermore, the water quality, sediment quality, fish tissue and fish health results have informed consumption guidelines of the fish in the waterbodies being studied, as fish are a valuable traditional food resource to First Nations.

During a study conducted over the last three years funded by CIMP (#00154), Northern Contaminants Program, Health Canada, and NSERC, we found that some Dehcho lakes have high mercury concentrations in top predator food fish species, such as Northern Pike (exceed Health Canada consumption guidelines), whereas other lakes have relatively low mercury concentrations in these species. Our results found that among-lake variability in fish mercury concentrations are not fully explained by any of the variety of variables we investigated, including fish growth rates, fish trophic position, fish age, and fish size. We also found an interesting decoupling between mercury concentrations in water and mercury concentrations in fish, and that lakes with high fish mercury concentrations do not necessarily have high rates of mercury biomagnification through the food web. The water quality and fish data also establish reference conditions for the area relative to future development and a changing climate.

Version 3.0.0
Data Steward Email
Data Collection Organization Wilfrid Laurier University
Data Upload Organization Heidi Swanson; Dehcho First Nations
Progress Code onGoing
Maintenance Frequency Code unknown
Topic Category Code inlandWaters
Keywords Water Quality, Mercury, Fish, Dehcho
Spatial Extent -123.057° 60.303°, -117.634° 63.915° (W S, E N)
Temporal Extent 2013-09-09 to 2022-09-16
Date Published
Alternate Formats FGP-HNAP ISO:19115-2 (XML) , W3C DCAT (XML) , W3C DCAT (JSON-LD)


Wilfrid Laurier University. 2024-02-13. "Dehcho Region Water Quality Data" (dataset). 3.0.0. DataStream.

Data Collection Information

To assess chemical parameters standard 1-litre grab water sample bottles were collected at discrete depths using a peristaltic pump, acid-washed Teflon tubing and following standard best practices. Water was collected for ultra-trace Hg analysis using EPA protocols 1631 and 1669 (US EPA, 1996a&b). The clean-hands dirty-hands technique will be used to collect unfiltered water samples. All fish tissue and water were collected following best practices of Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the field and laboratory.

Attribution Licence (ODC-By) v1.0

You are free to share, copy, distribute, use, modify, transform, build upon, and produce works from the data as long as you attribute any public use of the data, or works produced from the data, in the manner specified in the licence. For any use or redistribution of the data, or works produced from it, you must make clear to others the licence of the data and keep intact any notices on the original data.

API Access

curl -G --data-urlencode "\\$filter=DOI eq '10.25976/j1fz-z275'" -H "x-api-key: PRIVATE-API-KEY"



Update to metadata


Added new data from 2021-2022 field season.

Schema v2.18.4
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File size 111.58 KB


DataStream system update: set citation to recommended default.


initial submission

Schema v2.1.3
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File size 209.16 KB