Orientation to the Shoreline Guidance Document for Provincial Government Staff

Dates: May 7 - 7 2020
Times: 10:00 am - 11:30 am Pacific Time (PT)
Type: other
Location: Online

THIS WEBINAR IS INVITE-ONLY. Please contact KLP Program Coordinator Kristin Assen at klp.coordinator@gmail.com with any questions.

For Provincial Government Staff who review applications related to lakeshore development in the Kootenay Region, the Shoreline Guidance Document is a resource to consider cumulative impacts on fish and wildlife habitats in decision-making. The Kootenay Lake Partnership will provide an interactive introduction to using Shoreline Guidance Documents, with Kootenay Lake as an example to help support the preservation of important ecological, archaeological and Ktunaxa Nation cultural values. The Kootenay Lake Partnership developed the Shoreline Guidance Document to help government staff, residents and developers navigate existing complex local, provincial and federal regulations.

The webinar will be presented by:

  • Andrea Evans, Authorizations Specialist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development
  • Nicole Kapell, Environment and Archaeological Stewardship Manager with Ktuanxa Lands and Resources Sector
  • Ryan Cloutier, Foreshore Inventory and Mapping Program Manager with Living Lakes Canada
  • Kristin Aasen, Program Coordinator, Kootenay Lake Partnership/ Living Lakes Canada

Towards implementing the Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document

Dates: April 2 - 2 2020
Times: 10:00 am - 11:30 pm Pacific Time (PT)
Type: other
Location: Online

THIS WEBINAR IS INVITE-ONLY. Please contact KLP Program Coordinator Kristin Assen at klp.coordinator@gmail.com with any questions.

For Regional District of Central Kootenay staff who review applications related to lakeshore development in the Kootenay Region, the Shoreline Guidance Document is a resource to consider cumulative impacts on fish and wildlife habitats in decision-making. The Kootenay Lake Partnership will provide an interactive introduction to using Shoreline Guidance Documents, with Kootenay Lake as an example to help support the preservation of important ecological, archaeological and Ktunaxa Nation cultural values. The Kootenay Lake Partnership developed the Shoreline Guidance Document to help government staff, residents and developers navigate existing complex local, provincial and federal regulations.

The webinar will be presented by:

  • Andrea Evans, Authorizations Specialist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development
  • Nicole Kapell, Environment and Archaeological Stewardship Manager with Ktuanxa Lands and Resources Sector
  • Ryan Cloutier, Foreshore Inventory and Mapping Program Manager with Living Lakes Canada
  • Kristin Aasen, Program Coordinator, Kootenay Lake Partnership/ Living Lakes Canada

Creating a Blue Dialogue Webinar

Dates: April 14 - 14 2020
Times: 9:30 am - 11:00 am Pacific Time (PT)
Type: other
Location: Online
Phone: 250-721-8800
Email:

This webinar will showcase a panel of emerging student researchers working on priority topics related to water law, policy, and governance. It is the first webinar in our new “Water Research Roundup” series, being offered as part of POLIS’ Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series.

Avery Deboer-Smith will discuss her research as both a Masters student and Operations Director at Living Lakes Canada. Her work focuses on the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative, which will act as the coordinating body for developing a systemic guiding framework to address water monitoring data collection and data storage needs in the Canadian Columbia Basin.

Richard Farthing-Nichol will describe his recently completed Masters research, which focused on the challenge of securing sustainable funding for watershed co-governance between Indigenous and Crown governments.

Rebecca Macias Gimenez will describe her work on land and water governance, and environmental decision-making about large energy infrastructure, intersected with aspects of social and environmental justice.

REGISTER HERE

March 2020 News Stream

In light of the quickly changing circumstances around the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and its health impacts, clean water for sanitation and hygiene has become immeasurably more important. 

We are  fortunate to have source water from lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. Whether it’s in the face of a pandemic or climate crisis impacts, progressive action plans for holistic water management, integrated across different sectors and coordinated beyond borders, will continue to support our well-being now and into the future.

World Water Day reminds us that we can honour the preciousness of water with gratitude and good stewardship. We send best wishes to our partner organizations in Canada and to our Living Lakes International friends around the world. Let’s take good care of each other during these challenging times. 

Web Link: https://mailchi.mp/c22f3cbed388/living-lakes-canada-news-stream-march-22-2020

World Water Day Film Launch: People Power for Healthy Rivers

Living Lakes Canada worked with Imagine Creative to produce this 4-minute video — “People Power for Healthy Rivers: DNA Technology Meets Citizen Science in STREAM” — which features how the CABIN (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network) protocol is being used in our STREAM project.

We are pleased to launch this compelling short film on World Water Day 2020 (March 22). 

STREAM, short for Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring, is the national water monitoring pilot working to collect a total of 1,500 environmental DNA samples from 15 watersheds across Canada over three years through community-based water monitoring. 

STREAM is a partnership between Living Lakes Canada, World Wildlife FundCanada, the University of Guelph and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

DFO funds Aquatic Species at Risk Project in the Columbia Basin

 

 

Columbia Basin, March 22, 2020 – Aquatic species and their habitats are at risk in the Columbia Basin and a new Living Lakes Canada project is helping to protect them. 

Living Lakes Canada recently received a $1.09 million grant from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk program to complete a “Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM) for Aquatic Species at Risk Project” in the Columbia Basin. 

The four-year project was launched in late 2019. The first phase of the project included a series of workshops with participation from First Nations; municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments; environmental consultants; and NGO representatives (see photo below). The workshops were aimed at reviewing and revising the existing FIM methodology in order to improve its application for Columbia Basin lakes.

Since 2006, FIM has been completed on 13 lakes across the Columbia Basin, including:

      • Lake Windermere
      • Columbia Lake
      • Wasa Lake
      • Moyie Lake
      • Monroe Lake
      • Jimsmith Lake
      • Tie Lake
      • Rosen Lake
      • St Mary Lake
      • Koocanusa Reservoir
      • Kootenay Lake
      • Slocan Lake
      • Brilliant Headpond

The Living Lakes Canada project will map or re-map six to eight priority lakes in the Columbia Basin over four years. The first two lakes will be selected and announced this spring. 

“The project is very timely given that some lake reports are now more than 10 years old. We are excited to be working with DFO and our other partners to strengthen shoreline habitat conservation across the Columbia Basin,” said Living Lakes Canada Project Manager Heather Leschied.

FIM takes an inventory and maps shoreline habitats for fish and wildlife, assesses habitat value, and establishes Foreshore Management Guidelines. The aim of these guidelines is to conserve sensitive habitats, improve ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and protect species of conservation concern. They also provide a benchmark by which to compare habitat changes over time. 

The project will benefit a number of Species at Risk in the Columbia Basin, including the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), Shorthead Sculpin (Cottus confusus) and Columbia Sculpin (Cottus hubbsi), and the Umatilla Dace (Rhinichthys umatilla) among others.

The Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk (CNFASAR) is delivered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and is part of Canada’s Nature Initiative, which was launched in May 2018. The CNFASAR will provide $55 million over 5 years to support projects that help to recover aquatic species at risk. The objective of the CNFASAR is to slow (and hopefully reverse) the decline of aquatic species at risk. It aims to fast-track species recovery by injecting targeted funding for activities and projects that address key threats in priority locations.

To learn more about Living Lakes Canada’s FIM work, visit: https://livinglakescanada.ca/projects/foreshore-inventory-mapping-in-the-columbia-basin

To learn more about CNFASAR, visit: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/sara-lep/cnfasar-fnceap/overview/index-eng.html

“The collaborative approach to the workshop was well-planned, the invitees well-chosen, and the agenda well-thought out and efficiently managed for time. The chosen space provided a comfortable and casual atmosphere, which made attendees like myself, who didn’t already know most of the other participants, feel comfortable speaking up when we had something of value to add to the discussion. The event was informative for me as a practitioner and helped me understand the variety of factors involved in shoreline management. I’d say it was the most productive workshop I’ve attended, which is especially impressive considering the complexity of the material and the short timeframe.  All the attendees had extensive experience with either writing and/or using the material prior to the workshop and, because we all came from varied backgrounds and our approaches for using the material varied based on our sector’s unique needs, knowledge base, jurisdiction and/or regulatory framework, the discussion was well-rounded and the results highly useful (I hope)!”

~Tracy Van de Wiel, Planning Technician, Regional District of East Kootenay

Columbia Basin groundwater level data captured in new report

Columbia Basin, March 22, 2020 – There is relatively little known about the aquifers in the Columbia Basin, but the Living Lakes Canada Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program is starting to fill the knowledge gaps.

The program has recently published its first summary of the groundwater level data collected to date. The technical report provides information on the wells being monitored, data collection methods, and preliminary data interpretation to help understand what is being monitored at each site.

ACCESS THE REPORT HERE

Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program Manager Carol Luttmer

“The program is innovative and exciting,” says Groundwater Program Manager Carol Luttmer. “The partnerships with existing well owners are key to its success and we are keen to expand, pending sufficient funding and finding suitable wells, so that we can collect data across the range of climatic, geological, topographical, hydrological, land cover, and water use conditions that exist in the Basin.“

The Province of BC has mapped 184 aquifers in the Upper Columbia Basin, where is there is a history of groundwater use. They are monitoring groundwater levels in six (6) of these aquifers as part of the Provincial Groundwater Observation Well Network (PGOWN). To date, the Living Lakes Canada Groundwater Monitoring Program has collected data from an additional 14 wells in 13 different aquifers.

Wells are expensive to drill, therefore the program partners with well owners to monitor groundwater levels in existing wells that are not used to extract water. The groundwater level data are shared on the BC Real-time Water Data Website where they can be accessed publicly.

“There is so much value in collecting data now,” explains Antonio Barosso (P.Eng.), a hydrogeologist with GW Solutions who provides technical support to the Living Lakes Canada Groundwater Program. “We can’t go back in time to collect data, and it’s the long-term data sets that will support us managing aquifers effectively today.”

How much water is stored underground, how it flows, and the resulting groundwater levels are dependent on many factors, including climate, geology, topography, land cover, interactions with surface waters, and how much water humans are withdrawing.  Site specific information such as groundwater levels provides information that can be used to help manage and protect aquifers to maintain water supplies for human and ecological needs. 

The information gathered in the Living Lakes Canada Groundwater Program data summary report shows that the Volunteer Observation Wells are monitoring a variety of types of groundwater systems in the Upper Columbia Basin including those dominated by surface water-groundwater interactions, mountain block recharge, and precipitation infiltration recharge. 

“Understanding the site-specific recharge, storage, and discharge mechanisms for individual aquifers is key to managing water resources,” says Luttmer. “For example, if we understand recharge mechanisms, we can predict which aquifers will be most affected by climate change and we can protect the areas where infiltration is occurring for those aquifers.”

The Groundwater Program data summary report can be downloaded HERE and is also available on the Ecological Reports Catalogue (CLICK HERE). 

If you would like more information on the program, visit the Groundwater Program webpage or contact groundwater@livinglakescanada.ca.

Groundwater Program Manager Carol Luttmer checks a well at the Nature Trust of British Columbia’s Dutch Creek Hoodoos Conservation Area.

 

 

 

 

 

Flathead River Biomonitoring Program Summary Report now available

The Flathead River is a trans-boundary tributary of the Columbia River, flowing from the Canadian Rocky Mountains south into Montana. This system is significant because it includes the headwaters of three extensive continental river systems (Columbia, Missouri/Mississippi, and Saskatchewan). The Flathead River watershed is known for supporting habitat connectivity, extremely high terrestrial biodiversity, and diverse aquatic life. 

“The Flathead is unique as an unsettled river valley that supports robust populations of Westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout and iconic wildlife species, making it an important watershed for fish and wildlife connectivity, and for ensuring overall resilience to climate change in the Canadian Southern Rockies,” said Flathead Lake Biological Station Senior Scientist Erin Sexton with the University of Montana.

Because of its remote location and lack of other human developments, the Canadian Flathead watershed offers a unique opportunity to observe the isolated effects of timber harvest practices on aquatic health. 

This observation was the intent of the Flathead River Biomonitoring Program, a five-year project that took place between 2013 and 2017. The project examined the aquatic health of five different sub-basins — one of which had no previous logging activity — to observe any effects over the five-year period. The recently published Flathead River Biomonitoring Program Summary Report outlines the results from these efforts.

Using the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol, Living Lakes Canada staff collected benthic macroinvertebrate samples (the community of organisms that live in the substrates along the bottom of a river or stream) and water quality data in five tributaries in the Canadian Flathead River watershed between 2013 and 2017. This study was completed in an effort to support landscape conservation and improve resource management in the watershed.

“It is great to see this effort by Living Lakes Canada to provide a complete CABIN dataset for a watershed as important as the Canadian Flathead,” said Sexton. “The information collected provides a solid baseline for the sites monitored, that will be useful and important as climate change, further forestry land use, recreation and land use planning continue.” 

Click here for the report.

 

 

Columbia Basin water data hub preparing for April launch

Monitoring Collaborative update

The Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative database is in the final stages of development and testing before its launch as the collective hub of Columbia Basin-relevant water data collected by the water monitoring groups in the Basin. This information will help to provide better understanding of the 10 watershed subregions in the Columbia Basin  and to support improved watershed management by decision makers .

The anticipated launch date is for April 30, 2020. Keep an eye on our website and social media for the most current updates.

Fresh Water Data Commons pilot project

As part of the Monitoring Collaborative, we are working on the Fresh Water Data Commons pilot project within our Supercluster Innovation Fund partnership within our Supercluster Innovation Fund partnership. The goal of this project is to collect water data in a cost-effective, real-time, and scalable manner then use that data to understand the water balance in ecosystems and stay abreast of water availability issues in different regions as they occur.

The Fresh Water Data Commons pilot project will ground truth a sub-basin water balance model by placing a system of collection devices in a rural area of the Columbia Basin to test collecting, storing and analyzing data in real-time. By replacing static data collection with real-time data collection and analytics, the accuracy of modelling can be determined to inform machine learning. This real-time data will provide the opportunity to make water management decisions using the most current information available across all sectors including government, First Nations, industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community-based monitoring groups.

In addition to contributing data to the Columbia Basin’s water data hub, the Fresh Water Data Commons is assisting the Monitoring Collaborative with some of the development of its open source data centre. 

Targeted eDNA

Living Lakes team members will also be involved in an Environmental DNA (eDNA) research component of the project that will assist with further validation of this emerging technology. 

For this eDNA research component, Living Lakes Canada will be working closely with local partner organizations and the University of Victoria eDNA Helbing Lab.

Animals slough off DNA into their immediate environment through skin, mucus, feces, etc. This eDNA can be captured by properly filtering a sample of water and analyzing it in a lab. Living Lakes Canada staff will be collecting water samples in strategic locations at the study sites to determine the spatial extent of a select group of target species. These samples will be filtered and sent to the University of Victoria, where they will be analyzed in the Helbing Lab to determine presence or absence of the predetermined target species.

The eDNA data will be shared with the partner organization in order to offer more information on the effectiveness of local restoration or monitoring projects while improving eDNA research techniques.   

To learn more, contact Program Manager Raegan Mallison at raegan@livinglakescanada.ca.

Collecting valuable data for high elevation monitoring program

On March 1 and 2, Living Lakes Canada team members Claire Pollock-Hall and Kyle Prince along with volunteer Kaylenna Olynyk were recruited to complete the monthly snow survey at one of the North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project (NKLWMP)’s snow survey courses on the northeast end of Kootenay Lake, BC. This work was conducted to assist with the NKLWMP Snow and Climate Monitoring Program, which is under the umbrella of Living Lakes Canada. The NKLWMP snow courses are situated at an elevation that is higher than all the other provincial snow courses within the area, highlighting their value in providing data otherwise outside the range of existing monitoring sites.

Background: The context for this monitoring program are two Columbia Basin Trust reports authored by hydrologist Dr. Martin Carver — Water Monitoring and Climate Change in the Upper Columbia Basin: Summary of Current Status and Opportunities, and Guidance Information for Planning Monitoring Programs  — which have identified knowledge gaps in the scientific understanding of where water resources and aquatic ecosystems in the Columbia Basin are changing as a consequence of land use and climate change. High elevation data, peak glacial melt, and snow trends were among the high priority water-related knowledge gaps identified, which the NKLWMP Snow and Climate Monitoring Program seeks to address. 

This monitoring trip to the Kootenay Joe snow survey course began with an early morning scenic drive along the water with an epic mountain backdrop as the group made their way to the trailhead at the northeast end of Kootenay Lake. The three snow surveyors had their work cut out for them, having to self-propel up the mountainside close to 1300 m on an old logging road using ski-touring gear to access the backcountry survey area and their accommodation for the night.

The first day was very pleasant and the group was treated to patches of sun, blue skies and mountain peak views as they gained elevation. A drastic difference in the snowpack and snow condition was observed throughout the day, changing from exposed ground cover and a spring feel at the parking area level to a winter wonderland experience at their destination.

Once the group reached the cabin where they would be spending the night, they dropped some weight from their packs, gathered the monitoring equipment, and clipped back into their skis to initiate the snow survey. Working together, the team of three were able to collect the snow data efficiently. The survey involved orienteering to each sample site, measuring snow height, removing a core snow sample, and weighing it to determine water equivalency. This was repeated ten times to complete the snow survey course. 

After a cozy night at the cabin, the group headed back down to civilization the next day. Conditions were much different, with cloudy skies, falling snow and blowing winds. The hard work from the day before paid off as the group travelled swiftly down the old logging road back to the parking area, once again experiencing the stark contrast in weather and snow conditions. 

Living Lakes Canada has the mandate to mainstream water monitoring in the Canadian Columbia Basin and beyond, and encourages any interested individuals or groups to contact us to find out more. 

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