CABIN (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network)

CABIN is a nationally standardized biomonitoring protocol, developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and involves collecting benthic macroinvertebrate samples alongside habitat and water quality data to determine stream health. Benthic macroinvertebrates, the community of organisms that live in the substrates along the bottom of a river or stream, are excellent indicators of aquatic health due to their high sensitivity to pollutants and climate change-related impacts.

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Program Summary

Living Lakes Canada was one of the first non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be certified by the Canadian federal government to deliver field training for CABIN, an efficient, an accurate and widely accepted way to assess aquatic ecosystem health that is mainly used for small to medium sized creeks.

For the last five years, Living Lakes Canada has been leading CABIN training sessions for Indigenous and non-Indigenous community-based water monitoring groups throughout the Columbia Basin as well as across British Columbia and Canada.   

The benthics are collected by participants using the standardized CABIN kick-netting protocol, demonstrated in the video clip below. Once collected, the benthics are sent to qualified taxonomists who then identify which are present based on physical traits.

The results of that identification and the other data collected is uploaded to the national CABIN database where certified CABIN users can run a powerful yet simple-to-use statistical analysis tool that produces a stream health assessment. This final product — the stream health assessment report — is widely acknowledged and accepted as a valuable indicator of stream health at the time of collection.

Program Goal

Repeating these efforts over time allows users to establish baseline information and observe changes, and provides widely accepted scientific evidence to First Nations community-based water monitors and others to support environmental degradation concerns and further validate more defined sampling efforts.


Online Modules are part of the CABiN training and are housed and managed by the Canadian Rivers Institute. There are no other prerequisites to join a CABiN training other than completing module 1 and 2 before the field certification. Please see a detailed description of each modules content, levels of certification (Field Technician or Program Manager) at the Canadian Rivers Institute website.


To inquire about holding or participating in a Living Lakes Canada-led CABIN training, contact Program Manager Raegan Mallinson at

Program Resources


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