Living Lakes Canada’s Stewardship Lead in Colombia sharing community-based water monitoring experiences

Living Lakes Canada Water Stewardship Lead Raegan Mallison with two Colombian Watershed Keepers and Gila Somers from the NWT government in Colombia at the National Watershed Forum November 14-16

A Colombian national forum was held in the city of Pereira from November 14-16, 2017 with the participation of 50 watershed keepers from across the country, and Living Lakes Canada’s Raegan Mallinson attended and presented at the conference. The conference was part of the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS in Spanish) programming to support watershed management and monitoring by engaging regional and local watershed advisors (Consejeros de Cuencas).

The agenda featured presentations on the role of watershed keepers and Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) and the challenges that are faced in various regions of the country, as well as sessions to initiate collaboration among the range of forum participants.

As the Water Stewardship Lead for Living Lakes Canada, Raegan was at the forum to provide hands-on knowledge of what it takes to carry out effective community-based monitoring. She shared recent developments including Living Lakes Canada’s role in the national freshwater citizen science program using environmental DNA with the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network protocol in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the University of Guelph and WWF-Canada.

Following the forum, she is meeting with water monitors and community members in the Putumayo department to exchange experiences on CBM, including approaches that interweave Traditional Knowledge, such as Living Lakes Canada’s Pilot Project on the integration of traditional language with the national CABIN protocol, as well as cultural, social and environmental perspectives faced by vulnerable populations.

The mission is also anticipated to provide valuable information to Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Colombia related to community involvement in decision-making with a focus on environment management, governance and decision-making directly involving women, youth and vulnerable populations.

Check back for a summary of Raegan’s experiences when she returns to Canada November 25.

Guest Blog: Counting down the days to the Water Data Hub

CBWN Senior Manager Tara Lynn Clapp (centre right). Photo by Louis Bockner

CBWN — I can hardly wait for the #WaterDataHub2017 in Invermere. I believe that this conference will prepare the ground for us to leap ahead as a region. In my role as Senior Manager of the Columbia Basin Watershed Network (CBWN), I feel a real need to improve access, sharing, and use of water data in decision-making by all those in the watershed.

Data Sharing: Our members are non-profit watershed stewardship groups, and we produce some great data. We would like to be able to easily share that data, along with the metadata that explains what makes it great data. One thing I’m excited about is the opportunity for our members to talk to other water data stakeholders about the kinds of data we are producing, and the steps we take to ensure that data collected follows standardized monitoring protocols and is scientifically robust and applicable in our communities.

Data Security: Many members who collect this data as volunteers are retired, and individuals may only volunteer for a few years before moving on to other things. We would like to ensure that our data does not get lost when we do. Our membership would really like to have a secure and common storage area.

Regional Framework: While our members are often most interested in specific places and specific local issues, we are definitely interested in contributing to a regional water monitoring framework. We are very interested in contributing to a larger understanding of water quality in the region.

For myself and for the members of CBWN, the Water Data Hub feels like a big opportunity to introduce ourselves to those with whom we share the watershed, and to shape the future of water data — and therefore the future of water decision-making.

Tara Lynne Clapp is the Senior Manager of the Columbia Basin Watershed Network.

For the most current detailed agenda, visit: www.livinglakescanada.ca/news/cracking-the-code

To register go to: www.eventbrite.com/e/cracking-the-code-in-3-d

Excitement is mounting for #WaterDataHub2017!

The #WaterDataHub2017 conference continues to build momentum as final edits are made to the agenda, speakers are confirmed, and travel plans are made to Invermere for the end of November.

Over the last week, excitement mounted thanks to scheduled radio interviews with Living Lakes Canada executive director Kat Hartwig on Kootenay Co-Op Radio in Nelson, Summit 107 in Cranbrook and Juice FM in Creston.

The need and importance of this conference to start the dialogue about open source data couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the affects of climate change felt globally and water scarcity issues being a reality in the Columbia Basin, a collaborative plan moving forward is essential.

Water stewardship groups from across the Basin and country, all levels of government, consultants, industry professionals, institutions, water scientists and all those that have a love for water are welcomed to join the dialogue at Copper Point Resort in the Columbia Valley on November 29 and 30.

With a jam-packed agenda including national to local case studies, investigation of current data hubs, how different sectors are using these data hubs and a salmon dinner with a Traditional Territory welcome, the 2-day event will develop a collective understanding for modernizing Columbia Basin water knowledge.

This event will steer the direction for open source water data for the Columbia Basin.

Registrations are quickly flowing in! Reserve your spot here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cracking-the-code-in-3-d-an-open-source-data-hub-dialogue-towards-a-columbia-basin-water-monitoring-tickets-36903118220?aff=es2

For the most current detailed agenda, visit: http://livinglakescanada.ca/news/cracking-the-code/

CRACKING THE CODE (IN 3-D): A WATER DATA HUB DIALOGUE

CRACKING THE CODE
(IN 3-D)

 An Open Source Data Dialogue Towards a Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework

Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 8:30 AM – Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 4:30 PM MST
Copper Point Resort in Invermere, B.C.

Click here for EVENT PROGRAM including detailed agenda and speakers bios.

REGISTER HERE

Click here for advance MEDIA COVERAGE of the conference (see pages 5 & 10).

Join the Conversation: #WaterDataHub2017

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

On November 29th and 30th in the Columbia Valley (Invermere), join the dialogue that will envision creating a Water Monitoring Framework for Source Water Protection and a shared, Open Source Water Data Hub for the Columbia Basin.
The goal of the dialogue is to develop a collective understanding for integrating the region’s water knowledge through freely accessed open source data that is useful, reliable, and evaluated and applied by users.

***

During this action focused event, participants will craft 3-D outcomes:

  1. DECIDE: An understanding for what is required to catalyze a water monitoring framework towards filling important water data gaps for a watershed.    
  2. DESIGN: A vision for a Columbia Basin-specific, open access, water data hub.
  3. DO: Cross-sector working groups to move forward on the shared water data hub and the water monitoring framework

***

A WATER MONITORING FRAMEWORK

In February 2017, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) released a report led by Dr. Martin Carver outlining the current status of water quality and quantity knowledge in the Columbia Basin. The report, titled “Water Monitoring and Climate in the Upper Columbia Basin, Summary of Current Status and Opportunities”, revealed that Basin water data is inadequate for the undertaking of managing and protecting the region’s water resources in response to climate change.

Over the past few decades, the federal and provincial governments have reduced their hydrometric monitoring, especially on smaller streams. Because existing monitoring networks pre-dated the need for regional climate impacts monitoring, the current network does not represent an optimal configuration for tracking and understanding the full range of implications of climate change on water supply for Basin ecosystems and people (Carver, 2017).

In light of this report, time is of the essence when it comes to establishing a Water Monitoring Framework for the Basin, an endeavour particularly relevant to the region’s higher-volume users such as communities and municipalities, hydropower operators, agricultural producers, industrial operations, ski resorts (snowmaking), as well as commercial and residential users.

A WATER DATA HUB

Storage and access to Columbia Basin water data in a way that supports decision-making is the next step. Cracking the Code (in 3-D) will tap into conversation about open source data that is currently trending on a global scale in citizen scientist, academic, government and industry circles. The time for an innovative, coordinated and collaborative open water data platform for the Basin — one that is free of charge and open to everybody — has arrived, but it’s not without its challenges. How to efficiently house reliable, multi-tiered data is the question everyone is grappling with.

We will learn about best practices examples from regions in Canada and the U.S. We will have a shared understanding regarding water monitoring and water data storage needs from the perspectives of government (all levels) including First Nations, community water stewardship groups, industry sectors and academia.

AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2017
CHARTING THE WATERS
  • Day 1 — Charting the Waters — panels will focus on holistic best practices of larger scale collaborative water monitoring initiatives; shared understanding of big data hubs; current and future water monitoring and database needs for all levels of government, industry and communities. Day one will finish with plenary dinner guests to share a First Nations water stewardship perspective. There will be an optional visit to Radium Hot Springs.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017
DIVING IN
  • Day 2 — Diving In — panels will have a more in-depth focus: on-the-ground First Nations and non-First Nations community based water monitoring examples; local and regional government and industry examples; needs for shared data and collaborative monitoring work. This will be followed by a facilitated session to gather input for next steps needed in creating a Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework and a Basin-specific water data hub.

Click here for EVENT PROGRAM including detailed agenda and speaker bios.

EVENT DETAILS

Cost: $200 ($100 per day)

  • Covers all meals (breakfast x2, lunch x2, snacks x4, dinner x1), coffee and registration
  • Optional shuttle to local hot springs included – hot springs entry must be paid separately by attendee

Discounted Locals’ Day Rate: $100 ($50 per day)

  • Covers lunch and snacks only (no breakfast or dinners), coffee and daytime registration only (no evening presentation)
  • No hot springs shuttle included

We have blocked rooms at the Copper Point Resort where the conference will be held. The resort has offered conference delegates a special off-season room rate. Please make sure you notify the resort that you will be attending the Conference to ensure the discount is applied.

Direct room reservations can be made by calling the central reservations line at: 1.855.926.7737 or by emailing: reservations@copperpointresort.com, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Discounted Suite Options:

  •  Standard Rooms – $83.00/night + taxes
  • 1 Bedroom Suite – $132.00/night + taxes
  • 2 Bedroom Suite – $195.00/night + taxes

BURSARIES

Bursaries will be available to individuals working with non-profit watershed stewardship groups as well as interested First Nations. Please apply here — a limited number will be available.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation will be provided from Calgary International Airport to Copper Point Resort in Invermere on Tuesday, November 28. Anyone requiring transportation is asked to meet between 3 and 5 p.m. at Calgary International Airport on November 28. Return transportation will be available on Friday, December 1st. For details, please email Avery Deboer-Smith at averydeboer@gmail.com.

For those interested in carpooling options, ride sharing information will be emailed to all registrants prior to the conference.

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Guest Blog: WWF Canada – Volunteers Shimmy and Shuffle in the River for Science

WWF – Canada

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

Four volunteers became citizen scientists on the picturesque shore of the Ottawa River by donning hip-waders and gloves before kicking up the surface of the water to collect benthic invertebrates (bugs!). Led by Living Lakes Canada experts, the volunteers joined World Wildlife Fund Canada’s David Miller in practicing a kick-test shimmy on shore before venturing into Remic Rapids to do their part in assessing the health of the Ottawa River watershed to help reverse the decline of wildlife in the ecosystem.

A proper net, gloves and sample container are needed to collect benthic invertebrates
Volunteers Eliza Ali, Brennan Doherty, David Miller (WWF-Canada president), Jason Pearman, and Amy Ede practice the kick net technique – which mostly involves kicking and twisting your feet upriver of your net to dislodge bugs from the riverbed. These small bugs tell an important story: By identifying and counting them, we can better understand the health of the watershed overall. In some cases, their presence (or absence) can indicate the basic health of a river
Living Lakes Canada representatives Raegan Mallinson and Heather Leschied describe proper collection techniques.
Indicator species like stoneflies and caddisflies are highly sensitive to pollutants and other changes that impact aquatic ecosystem health – finding these flies in the net is a very good sign. WWF-Canada’s recent Watershed Reports and Living Planet Report Canada highlighted serious data deficiencies on benthic invertebrates, as well as the importance of this kind of information to allow all levels of government to make evidence-based decisions about freshwater management.
Environment and Climate Change Canada biologist Donald Baird (bottom right) inspects a sample and preserves it for analysis. When asked about this new monitoring program, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said her department is committed to assessing aquatic ecosystem health across the country. “We are lending our scientific and technical expertise to support the WWF-Canada initiative and ensure cleaner rivers and lakes for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren,” she said
Samples collected by volunteers like Doherty and Ali will be analyzed in the laboratory to inform conservation decisions at the watershed and national level. In the past, analysis of a sample had to be done by hand by a taxonomist. Thanks to new environmental DNA (eDNA) technology pioneered by University of Guelph scientists, samples can be analyzed much more quickly and provide a greater depth of data than ever before. eDNA technology compares genetic material in the sample to a global DNA library to identify species. WWF-Canada has partnered with the University of Guelph to bring this world-leading eDNA technology to this national monitoring program.
Back on shore, after examining their samples – which included many caddisflies, stoneflies and even a fish – the volunteers’ excitement quickly spread to others nearby. A pair of passing cyclists and a pedestrian stopped by and were promptly given a lesson by Living Lakes Canada’s Raegan Mallinson and handed their hip waders. Paul and Edna O’Brien and Ellen Kammermayer were happy to join in the action.

The Remic Rapids test on the Ottawa River is the first of many in WWF-Canada’s new national community-based freshwater monitoring program that will see volunteers across the country deliver high-quality scientific data for freshwater ecosystems. Working with Living Lakes Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of Guelph, this program will soon be coming to a watershed near you.

Stay tuned for more on how to get involved. (And if you can’t wait, drop us a line at watershedreports@wwfcanada.org).

WWF-Canada would like to thank Loblaw Companies Limited for their generous support of our pilot projects in Ottawa and the Sunshine Coast

Open Source Data Hub Dialogue

OPEN SOURCE DATA HUB DIALOGUE:
Towards a Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework

Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 8:30 AM – Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 4:30 PM MST
In Invermere, BC

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

About the Conference

You can read the overview and agenda highlights by clicking here.

In February 2017, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) released its “Water Monitoring and Climate in the Upper Columbia Basin, Summary of Current Status and Opportunities” report led by Dr. Martin Carver. The report outlines the current status of water quality and quantity knowledge in the Columbia Basin. Filling important water data gaps will be a priority in order to support informed decision-making for elected officials, government agencies and water managers.  Decisions regarding water allocation, watershed governance, ecosystem health, source water and aquifer protection will become increasingly complex in this era of climate change .

On November 29th and 30th, join the dialogue that will envision creating a Water Monitoring Framework and a shared, Open Source Water Data Hub in the Columbia Basin. The goal of the dialogue is to develop a collective understanding for modernizing water knowledge with useful, reliable, open source data, that is freely accessed, evaluated and applied by users. The time for a coordinated, collaborative, innovative, user friendly, cost effective and open water data platform, has arrived.  We will learn about best practices examples from regions in Canada and the U.S.  We will have a shared understanding regarding water monitoring and water data storage needs from the perspectives of government (all levels), indigenous and non indigenous engaged water stewardship groups, engaged industry sectors and academia.

Dialogue Outcomes

  1. A vision for a Columbia Basin specific, open source, water data hub.
  2. An understanding for what is required to catalyze a water monitoring framework towards filling important water data gaps for a watershed.
  3. Cross-sector working groups will be formed to move forward on the shared water data hub and the water monitoring framework.

Long-Term Vision – Toward Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework

Develop a comprehensive Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework and Open Source Water Data Hub, that is supported and implemented by a collaboration of agencies and organizations to address the knowledge gaps; improve water data management; and inform applied science-based decision-making.

  1. Establish partnerships with organizations, agencies, and First Nations to support and guide the Water Monitoring Framework and Data Hub Dialogue and develop subsequent action items.
  2. Prioritize regional water knowledge gaps based on the 2017 CBT report, the WWF National Freshwater Health Assessment, and other sources.
  3. Identify appropriate approaches, partnerships and first steps for collecting and analyzing water data to help address knowledge gaps.
  4. Expand the collaboration of agencies and organizations to address and share information regarding water knowledge gaps.
  5. Develop and populate water database in open source platform.
  6. Link water data with decision-making.
  7. Share lessons on provincial and national scales.
  8. Learn lessons from other provincial, regional scales and other best practices examples.

Ticket Costs Cover

Tickets are $200 for the two-day conference and will include:

  1. Meals (breakfast x2, lunch x2, snacks x4, dinner x1), coffee and registration
  2. Optional shuttle to local hot springs will be included – hotspring entry must be paid separately by attendee

We have blocked rooms at the Copper point resort where the conference will be held.  The resort has offered conference delegates a special off season room rate. Please make sure you notify the resort that you will be attending the Conference to ensure the discount is applied.

Direct reservations can be made by calling the central reservations line at: 1.855.926.7737 or by emailing: reservations@copperpointresort.com, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9am – 4pm.

Discounted Suite Options:

Standard Rooms – $83.00/night + taxes
1 Bedroom Suite – $132.00/night + taxes
2 Bedroom Suite – $195.00/taxes

Direct reservations can be made by calling the central reservations line at: 1.855.926.7737 or by emailing: reservations@copperpointresort.com, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9am – 4pm.

Bursaries

Bursaries will be available to individuals working with relevant non-profit groups – A limited number will be available. Bursaries will become available when registration opens. Please fill out our bursary application by clicking here.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Read agenda highlights and overview by clicking here.

Conveners

Nelson Field Practicum – Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN)

Do you want to conduct freshwater benthic invertebrate monitoring and assessment to test the water quality on streams near you?

Living Lakes Canada is hosting a Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network Field Practicum in Nelson, BC September 13 and 14.

Join us and register today!

For more information on CABIN and aquatic biomonitoring.

Space is limited. Registration closes August 28, 2017.

Please share this opportunity with your networks.

Kootenay Conservation Program features LLC ED Kat Hartwig

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) is responding by helping our partners to protect clean water, preserve important wildlife habitat, and steward the land to allow for healthy, functioning ecosystems.  KCP’s collaborative approach builds the capacity of our partners and can help us find win-win solutions to ecosystem conservation on private lands.  In this way we can maintain and, in some cases, restore the rich biological and social heritage of the Kootenays.

The July “Faces & Places” features Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig.

LOCAL BASIN RESIDENT WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

On June 22nd, over 160 water professionals came together to celebrate innovators and influencers in the water sector at the Water’s Next Awards Gala—part of the 8th annual Canadian Water Summit in Toronto. Water Canada editor, Katherine Balpataky said that ”This year, we received nearly 60 submissions, and with the Selection Committee’s help they were whittled down to three or four finalists in each award category,”.

Kat Hartwig, from Brisco, BC, won the Water Steward of the Year award for the work that Living Lakes Canada team has done over the years, as well as the People- NGO category for her work on conducting a national scan in partnership with SFU and U of Acadia, to assess the state of community-based water monitoring across Canada.

Download the PDF Version of the SFU Report

Hartwig remarked,  “I was truly grateful to accept this National award on behalf of all water stewardship groups, and closer to home, it is way to acknowledge the dedication, devotion amazing water stewardship groups and individuals of Columbia Basin have and the hard work that they continue to do.

Ms. Hartwig pointed out that “the era of climate imposed decisions regarding source water protection and water allocation for humans and the ecosystems upon which we depend, has arrived.   Twenty-first-century challenges will require forging innovative, collaborative partnerships to collectively ensure economically and ecologically viable, climate resilient communities in Canada.” concluded Hartwig, as the Water’s Next winners were announced.

Background

Water Canada magazine’s Water’s Next Award program is the only national awards program to honour leadership across the entire water sector—including public servants, non-governmental groups, researchers, municipalities, and technology providers., Water Canada has hosted the awards to help strengthen and celebrate the thriving national community by showcasing Canada’s water leaders, champions, and innovators since 2010 .

“The awards themselves have two divisions. One is for the awards given to individuals—let’s call them “people,” yeah, the People division. And the other division we refer to as the Projects or Technology Division,”

 

Water Canada Magazine July/August Issue

The July/August issue of Water Canada features our very own Kat Hartwig and the Water’s Next Awards (pg. 7-9). We have collated relevant articles from the issue into a shortened version here: WC_LLC revised.

The issue begins with an introduction from Living Lakes Canada advisor Robert Sanford. Introducing future potential international collaborations in order to create a new water ethic in Canada. Sanford states “One of the best exports for improved integrated watershed management has been the movement toward citizen science and community-based monitoring…The pioneering work of Living Lakes Canada…ha[s] demonstrated the potential to inform decisions at multiple scales while building the country’s water stewardship culture.”(pg. 1-4)

Living Lakes Canada contributed water monitoring data from various regions to the recently released WWF Freshwater Health Assessment. Elizabeth Hendricks relays these alarming results in “Health Check: Years of research by WWF-Canada lay bare the need for national freshwater monitoring system.” (pg 5-6).

Thomas Axworthy  describes the need for further water policy and leadership. He identifies the critical relationship between water and peace, and how the issue of water scarcity is a threat to peace and should be taken up by the UN Security Council. (pg. 10).

Water’s Next Winners Announced

On June 22nd, over 160 water professionals came together to celebrate innovators and influencers in the water sector at the Water’s Next Awards Gala—part of the 8th annual Canadian Water Summit in Toronto. Water Canada editor, Katherine Balpataky said that ”This year, we received nearly 60 submissions, and with the Selection Committee’s help they were whittled down to three or four finalists in each award category,”.

Kat Hartwig, from Brisco, BC, won the Water Steward of the Year award for the work that Living Lakes Canada team has done over the years, as well as the People- NGO category for her work on conducting a national scan in partnership with SFU and U of Acadia, to assess the state of community-based water monitoring across Canada.

Download the PDF Version of the SFU Report

Hartwig remarked,  “I was truly grateful to accept this National award on behalf of all water stewardship groups, and closer to home, it is way to acknowledge the dedication, devotion amazing water stewardship groups and individuals of Columbia Basin have and the hard work that they continue to do.

Ms. Hartwig pointed out that “the era of climate imposed decisions regarding source water protection and water allocation for humans and the ecosystems upon which we depend, has arrived.   Twenty-first-century challenges will require forging innovative, collaborative partnerships to collectively ensure economically and ecologically viable, climate resilient communities in Canada.” concluded Hartwig, as the Water’s Next winners were announced.

Background

Water Canada magazine’s Water’s Next Award program is the only national awards program to honour leadership across the entire water sector—including public servants, non-governmental groups, researchers, municipalities, and technology providers., Water Canada has hosted the awards to help strengthen and celebrate the thriving national community by showcasing Canada’s water leaders, champions, and innovators since 2010 .

“The awards themselves have two divisions. One is for the awards given to individuals—let’s call them “people,” yeah, the People division. And the other division we refer to as the Projects or Technology Division,”

 

Water Canada Magazine July/August Issue

The July/August issue of Water Canada features our very own Kat Hartwig and the Water’s Next Awards (pg. 7-9). We have collated relevant articles from the issue into a shortened version here: WC_LLC revised.

The issue begins with an introduction from Living Lakes Canada advisor Robert Sanford. Introducing future potential international collaborations in order to create a new water ethic in Canada. Sanford states “One of the best exports for improved integrated watershed management has been the movement toward citizen science and community-based monitoring…The pioneering work of Living Lakes Canada…ha[s] demonstrated the potential to inform decisions at multiple scales while building the country’s water stewardship culture.”(pg. 1-4)

Living Lakes Canada contributed water monitoring data from various regions to the recently released WWF Freshwater Health Assessment. Elizabeth Hendricks relays these alarming results in “Health Check: Years of research by WWF-Canada lay bare the need for national freshwater monitoring system.” (pg 5-6).

Thomas Axworthy  describes the need for further water policy and leadership. He identifies the critical relationship between water and peace, and how the issue of water scarcity is a threat to peace and should be taken up by the UN Security Council. (pg. 10).

With the support of