Budget 2020 Consultation report recommends water fund for B.C.

Water sustainability emerged as one of the top issues for the Province of British Columbia in the unanimous report on the Budget 2020 Consultation released by the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released today (August 7, 2019).

This milestone for water stewardship in B.C. is due to the hard work and dedication of a consortium of water-focused NGOs and academia led by the POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

Living Lakes Canada Program Manager Avery Deboer-Smith gave a presentation developed by the consortium to the Committee during the budget consultation period. Her presentation highlighted the need for an endowment fund for water sustainability across the province, and this suggestion is included in the report under the section for Environmental Protection and Conservation (p 27):

And the establishment of a water sustainability fund to fund watershed protection work is listed as one of the Committee’s overall recommendations to the B.C. Legislative Assembly (p 31, no. 28): 

Furthermore, in the B.C. Government media release announcing the report on the Budget 2020 Consultation, advancing water sustainability is included in the quote by committee chair Bob D’Eith as a key area for action:

“The committee is grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views and bring attention to the challenges and opportunities facing the province,” said committee chair Bob D’Eith. “Several issues emerged as key areas for action, including providing comprehensive supports to youth formerly in care, and advancing water sustainability.” 

“The importance of collaborative action for water sustainability in B.C. is made evident by the acknowledgement from the province of the importance of addressing the very pressing issue of protecting our most valuable resource,” said Deboer-Smith.  

The  committee heard 276 presentations at 15 public hearings in communities across British Columbia, and received 496 written submissions and 452 responses to an online survey which was based on questions in the Budget 2020 Consultation Paper released by the Minister of Finance on June 3, 2019. 

The budget consultation is typically held every fall. This year, the consultation ran from June 3, 2019 to June 28, 2019 to enable the Committee to deliver its report earlier in the budget process. 

The report is available HERE or visit www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/finance.

 

STREAM Team brings CABIN training to Canmore

STREAM is a collaboration between Living Lakes Canada, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of Guelph, which involves the collection of eDNA from rivers across Canada for stream health assessments. Interested individuals and organizations are trained and certified using an adapted CABIN protocol to include eDNA analysis.

By Catherine Paquette, WWF-Canada

On July 16-17, the STREAM team led a CABIN field practicum on the beautiful Bow River in Canmore, Alberta, where 18 people received their certification.

The Canmore group was incredibly diverse and high-capacity: it included university students and researchers, national park staff, professional scientists and consultants, as well as staff and volunteers from local watershed groups and NGOs. This diversity of knowledge and experience allowed for great exchanges of ideas throughout the two-day course. Information was shared not only by the instructor to the participants, but it also flowed from the participants back to the STREAM team. Having participants with such diverse backgrounds really allowed the two-day course to be a dialogue and all participants left with a better understanding of not only the CABIN field protocol but also what kind of work is being done in the water world.

WWF-Canada truly believes that it will take people from all backgrounds to ensure we have a complete picture of freshwater health in Canada. In 2017, WWF-Canada released its Watershed Reports, which was the first national picture of the health of and threats to Canada’s freshwater. One of the major findings was that most of Canada’s watershed were data deficient; the required data to properly assess the rivers and streams either didn’t exist or was made unavailable. Fully 112 of 167 sub-watersheds are data deficient for the benthic invertebrate indicator. One of the main recommendations brought forward by WWF-Canada as a result of this data deficiency was the need to elevate multiple approaches to water monitoring.

While the federal government must be expected to play a significant and leading role in aquatic monitoring, Canada is just too big and diverse for a single organization to be responsible for all of it. Community-based water monitoring (CBWM), alongside academia and local and provincial governments, should be seen as a great opportunity to increase the amount of aquatic data collected, leading to a better understanding of our water resources. Groups across Canada are already taking charge and monitoring their home waters, and through technological advances such as open databases, this is becoming easier than ever.

Another of these technological advances that will benefit CBWM is DNA metabarcoding. This state-of-the-art technology will allow benthic samples collected by CBWM groups to be analyzed much more quickly and with less cost than ever before.

WWF-Canada is excited to be a member of STREAM for that very reason, giving CBWM organizations from across Canada the knowledge, training, and support required for them to be able to not only monitor their own waters but play a critical role in understanding the state of freshwater in Canada.

 

Whirling disease top of mind for Canmore CABIN course

Living Lakes Canada hosted a two-day stream health assessment course in Canmore, Alberta on July 16-17. There were 18 participants that attended the course to learn data collection techniques for biomonitoring, following the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network protocol.

The Bow Valley watershed (http://watershedreports.wwf.ca/…) has been listed as a red zone for Whirling Disease. Whirling Disease is caused by a parasite that affects salmonid (trout, salmon and whitefish). It uses these fish and an aquatic worm and hosts. Juvenile fish are most susceptible to Whirling disease. Whirling disease causes skeletal deformation and neurological damage. Fish “whirl” like a corkscrew, making them easy prey and not feeding appropriately.

Whirling Disease was detected in the Bow River watershed making it a red zone according to Alberta Environment and Parks (https://www.alberta.ca/whirling-disease.aspx).

During our CABiN course, Living Lakes Canada helped prevent the spread of Whirling disease by following the AEP decontamination protocol. We had the great experience of linking up with one of the decontamination trailers that drove across the province to decontaminate all of our equipment – FREE of charge. We now feel confident bringing our equipment to the next watershed, without any invasive hitch hikers or Whirling disease attached.

For a blog about the Canmore course submitted by WWF-Canada STREAM team member Catherine Paquette click HERE

Well in Brisco added to Groundwater Monitoring Program

Increasing our knowledge about groundwater will help us protect and manage this valuable resource.
 
On July 19, 2019, as part of the Living Lakes Canada Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program, groundwater level monitoring equipment was installed in this well in Brisco, located in the Columbia Valley on the east side of the Columbia Wetlands between Invermere and Golden. 
 

Sudbury STREAM Training Practicum

Dates: September 17 - 18 2019
Times: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)
Type: training
Cost: $375
Location: Sudbury, ON, Canada
Phone: 250-505-4311
Email: raegan@livinglakescanada.ca

This 2-day field practicum will be held in Sudbury, ON on September 17 & 18, 2019.

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) DNA, is a new community-based project which involves the collection of samples for eDNA metabarcoding analysis from rivers across Canada. STREAM is a collaboration between Living Lakes Canada (LLC) World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Guelph. The project is collaborating with interested partners including community and water stewardship groups, academia, Indigenous communities, all levels of government, and industry to collect data for stream health.

Living Lakes Canada Environmental Stewardship Initiative in Smithers, BC

This project uses an updated version of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol, developed by ECCC to collect samples using biomonitoring of benthic invertebrates, or the small animals on the bottom of the stream. Benthic invertebrates are strong indicators of water quality since the small organisms included in that group are highly sensitive to pollutants and other changes that impact aquatic ecosystem health.

For more information on levels of training, costs (price varies depending on level of certification), modules and other training locations visit the Canadian Rivers Institute.

Participants will be certified in the traditional CABIN protocol and learn new eDNA collection techniques. Trainees of CABiN gain access to a suite of web-accessible tools and resources, such as a national database of biological reference condition information, data management system, analytical software, and reporting tools.

Participants will also be supported to collect bulk DNA samples in their watersheds for the STREAM project post training.

To register: email Raegan Mallinson (raegan@livinglakescanada.ca)

Fort St. John/Dawson Creek STREAM Training Practicum

Dates: August 27 - 28 2019
Type: training
Location: Fort St. John/Dawson Creek area, BC, Canada
Phone: 250-505-4311
Email: raegan@livinglakescanada.ca

This 2-day field practicum will be held in the Fort St. John/Dawson Creek area on August 27 & 28, 2019. This training is currently CLOSED to the public. Please contact us at the end of July to find out if any spaces become available. 

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) DNA, is a new community-based project which involves the collection of samples for eDNA metabarcoding analysis from rivers across Canada. STREAM is a collaboration between Living Lakes Canada (LLC) World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Guelph. The project is collaborating with interested partners including community and water stewardship groups, academia, Indigenous communities, all levels of government, and industry to collect data for stream health.

Living Lakes Canada CABIN field course with Dene Kayeh Institute & Guardians.

This project uses an updated version of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol, developed by ECCC to collect samples using biomonitoring of benthic invertebrates, or the small animals on the bottom of the stream. Benthic invertebrates are strong indicators of water quality since the small organisms included in that group are highly sensitive to pollutants and other changes that impact aquatic ecosystem health.

For more information on levels of training, costs (price varies depending on level of certification), modules and other training locations visit the Canadian Rivers Institute.

Participants will be certified in the traditional CABIN protocol and learn new eDNA collection techniques.

Participants will be supported to collect bulk DNA samples in their watersheds for the STREAM project post training.

To register: email Raegan Mallinson (raegan@livinglakescanada.ca)

Canmore STREAM Training Practicum

Dates: July 16 - 17 2019
Times: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mountain Time (MT)
Type: training
Cost: $375
Location: Canmore, AB, Canada
Phone: 250-505-4311
Email: raegan@livinglakescanada.ca

This 2-day field practicum will be held in Canmore, AB on July 16 & 17.

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) DNA, is a new community-based project which involves the collection of samples for eDNA metabarcoding analysis from rivers across Canada. STREAM is a collaboration between Living Lakes Canada (LLC) World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Guelph. The project is collaborating with interested partners including community and water stewardship groups, academia, Indigenous communities, all levels of government, and industry to collect data for stream health.

Living Lakes Canada CABIN field course with Dene Kayeh Institute & Guardians.

This project uses an updated version of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol, developed by ECCC to collect samples using biomonitoring of benthic invertebrates, or the small animals on the bottom of the stream. Benthic invertebrates are strong indicators of water quality since the small organisms included in that group are highly sensitive to pollutants and other changes that impact aquatic ecosystem health.

For more information on levels of training, costs (price varies depending on level of certification), modules and other training locations visit the Canadian Rivers Institute.

Participants will be certified in the traditional CABIN protocol and learn new eDNA collection techniques.

Participants will be supported to collect bulk DNA samples in their watersheds for the STREAM project post training.

To register: email Raegan Mallinson (raegan@livinglakescanada.ca)

June 2019 News Stream

“Wetlands are one of the most significant ecosystems on the planet. They provide rich habitat for biodiversity and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. We need to take their preservation more seriously. Protecting the world’s wetlands is much more cost effective than trying to restore them. In collaboration with all sectors of civil society, we have the opportunity to preserve the integrity of the world’s remaining wetlands.”

~ Living Lakes Executive Director Kat Hartwig, from the Living Lakes 15th International Conference on Lakes & Wetlands

Web link: https://mailchi.mp/a75466fad326/living-lakes-canada-news-stream-march-606179

Columbia Basin Water Collaborative taking shape

By Avery Deboer-Smith (Living Lakes Canada Program Coordinator) and Rory Gallaugher (Living Lakes Canada Hydrometric Technologist)

On June 18th, the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative’s Steering Committee met in Nelson, BC to provide feedback and guidance on the monitoring framework. The face-to-face meeting had 21 steering committee members, some coming from as far away as Winnipeg.

The Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative is the current iteration of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework and Data Hub Initiative that got underway in November 2017 when Living Lakes Canada co-hosted the Cracking the Code in 3D: Water Data Hub and Monitoring Framework conference to envision a Water Monitoring Framework for the Columbia Basin. The conference was a follow up to the 2017 CBT report by Dr. Martin Carver titled Water Monitoring and Climate in the Upper Columbia Basin: Summary of Current Status and Opportunities in order to set the stage for a coordinated water data collection and applied decision making for the Basin.

Presented at the meeting was the research conducted on the database platforms that would best suit the Collaborative’s needs. Progress was made on all agenda items with direction provided by the steering committee for:

  • outlining the specifications of the database by requesting that a wireframe of the database’s functionality be developed,
  • determining scope of the monitoring that will be conducted and the criteria for selecting sites, and
  • the data governance structure.

The committee’s feedback will be incorporated to ensure outcomes are reflective of the diverse groups represented. The Collaborative guidance document will be published by September 2019 once the final draft has been reviewed.

This 50-member collaborative is guided by a cross sector of civil society representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous community, all levels of government, academia and industry, and is funded in part by:

  • Real Estate Foundation of BC
  • Columbia Basin Trust
  • Vancouver Foundation
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Sitka Foundation
  • Tides Canada

With the support of