New opportunities, nation-wide recognition and critical water data

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2022 brought new opportunities to grow our programs, connect with diverse communities and gather critical water data across Canada. Before we jump into 2023, we’d like to share our latest successes to close out the year. Learn the latest about our large-scale Columbia Basin monitoring project, get the scoop on the 2nd National Lake Blitz results, find out about a woman leading the charge in groundwater, hear stories from the last of the field season, and more. The momentum around our water stewardship work keeps growing thanks to interest from supporters like you — we couldn’t do it without you!

Water monitoring equipment in stream
A new hydrometric station in the West Kootenay pilot area. Photo by Rory Gallaugher

Monitoring for Adaptation in the Columbia Basin

It took until 2022, but water finally made it onto the official agenda of a UN Climate Change Conference. In the Columbia River Basin, Living Lakes Canada’s ongoing work to monitor how water supply is changing exemplifies many of the climate adaptation actions COP27 attendees agreed are needed for sustainable water management. 2022 saw the pilot implementation of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework in three hydrologic regions of the Basin, and planning to expand into other areas is already underway.

Groundwater monitoring
Carol Luttmer on site at a Volunteer Observation Well. LLC Photo

Recognition by Ground Water Canada

With the growing climate crisis, surface water supplies are becoming less reliable. We need a greater understanding of our groundwater systems. Carol Luttmer has been growing this understanding through our Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program. And her efforts recently received nation-wide attention by Ground Water Canada.

Water Monitoring Kit
The monitoring kit every National Lake Blitz volunteer receives when they register to participate. LLC Photo

113 lakes monitored in 2022 Lake Blitz

With so many lakes in Canada, it might be impossible to monitor how they’re all responding to climate change. Living Lakes Canada is tackling this through community-based monitoring. From May to September 2022, 160 volunteer citizen scientists gathered data on 113 lakes from the Yukon to Nova Scotia as part of the 2022 2nd Annual National Lake Blitz.

Biomonitoring in the Bow River Basin

Watersheds throughout the Rocky Mountains’ eastern slopes face a myriad of potential negative impacts as a result of various land uses. At a recent Biomonitoring in the Bow workshop hosted in Calgary by the Bow River Basin Council and Living Lakes Canada, the potential threats to local watersheds and opportunities to deepen watershed knowledge were explored.

Mountains at sunset
Sunset on Kokanee Glacier. Photo by Heather Shaw/LLC Photo

Getting up close & personal with Kokanee Glacier

We know that temperatures at higher altitudes are increasing more rapidly than at lower altitudes due to climate change. However, we don’t currently have a good understanding of what these climate impacts will be because we are not adequately monitoring these spaces. Living Lakes Canada’s High Elevation Monitoring Program seeks to fill these data gaps. This fall, Program Manager Heather Shaw learned the ropes of glacier mass measurement from UBC Postdoctoral researcher Ben Pelto.

Group of people in hip waders
STREAM training with Stó:lō Nation and Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance staff. Photo by Tamanna Kohi/University of Guelph

Lower Fraser First Nations embrace biomonitoring

Indigenous concerns around threats to fish habitat have prompted staff from the Stó:lō Nation and Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance to seek aquatic biomonitoring training in the Lower Fraser Valley. Staff from Living Lakes Canada, WWF-Canada and University of Guelph delivered the training in September as part of the STREAM project, the community-based Canada-wide project that’s using DNA metabarcoding technology to obtain faster, more accurate and less expensive monitoring results.

A review of Kootenay Lake lakeshore permitting guidelines is underway. LLC File Photo

Foreshore survey leads to lakeshore permit review

Living Lakes Canada’s ​​FIMP project (Foreshore Integrated Management Planning) has the overarching goal to improve the quality and quantity of information about lake foreshore habitat integrity and species at risk in the Upper Columbia Basin. In 2021 for Year 3 of the project, Kootemay Lake was one of 3 priority lakes surveyed, and the survey identified 4.5 kilometres of Kootenay Lake’s natural shoreline lost to development over a nine-year period. In response, the Regional District of the Central Kootenay has been conducting a review of its lakeshore permitting guidelines.

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