Living Lakes Canada Annual Report 2018-2019

Inside our 2018-2019 Annual Report, meet the Living Lakes Canada team, funders and partners, gain insight into all our active programs, find links to reports, articles and more.

This annual report covers Living Lakes Canada activity in our 2018-2019 fiscal year, from October 1, 2018 through to September 30, 2019.

Living Lakes Canada is fortunate to have an energetic, passionate team of dedicated individuals who understand the limitations of current constructs and who strive to make the changes needed on whatever scale that can make a difference. For us, this scale is mainly in the grassroots work of engaging and training Indigenous and non-Indigenous community groups to monitor and collect water data from streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater wells. Water stewardship empowers communities to engage and take an active role in the health of their watersheds, which impacts their own well-being.

~ Kat Hartwig, Message from the Executive Director

Download the 2018-2019 Annual Report here or click on the cover below: https://livinglakescanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Living-Lakes-Canada-Annual-Report-2018-2019.pdf 

 

Kootenay Lake Partnership is hiring a Program Coordinator

Kootenay Lake Partnership Program Coordinator Description

Living Lakes Canada seeks a self-motivated, enthusiastic, and organized Program Coordinator for the Kootenay Lake Partnership for a one-year position, with possibility for extension. Reporting to Living Lakes Canada, and through the financial support of its partners, the Program Coordinator is the key individual responsible for facilitating activities of the KLP that support management approaches for a productive and healthy Kootenay Lake.  In this position you will act as the spokesperson for the Partnership, build and maintain relationships among the various stakeholders, support training workshops, and chair quarterly meetings of the KLP.  This position requires 10 – 15 hours per week, but allows you the flexibility to complete the work on your schedule. 

  • Terms of Employment: December 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021 (with possibility for extension); approximately 10-15 hours per week; contracted by Living Lakes Canada
  • Wage: Depending upon experience
  • Start Date:  December 15, 2019
  • Deadline to Apply: November 30, 2019
  • Submit application to:  Heather Leschied, Operations Director, Living Lakes Canada at: heather@livinglakescanada.ca

 

Project Description

The Kootenay Lake Partnership (KLP) was formed in 2010 as a multi-agency initiative to support management approaches for a productive and healthy Kootenay Lake.  It integrates resources from Federal and Provincial agencies, First Nations, and local governments in order to address common concerns and issues around jurisdictional responsibilities, enforcement and ongoing stewardship of ecosystems, fisheries and wildlife values.  The partners recognize that a collaborative approach yields the best chance for conservation of the natural, social and cultural values around Kootenay Lake.  The participants include the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the City of Nelson, and the Village of Kaslo; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development; Interior Health Authority; Okanagan Nation Alliance; Lower Kootenay Indian Band; and the Ktunaxa Nation Council, Lands and Resources Sector.

The geographic scope of the KLP is the study area which includes:

 

Kootenay Lake

  • West Arm to Corra Linn Dam
  • North Arm to the mouth of Duncan River
  • South Arm to the mouth of the Kootenay River
  • Foreshore to 100m inland or to a logical physical break, i.e. East side – Highway 3A / West side – rail line.

It should be noted that the geographic scope of the KLP may be expanded following agreement of the Partnership.

 

Purpose of Position

The Kootenay Lake Partnership requires an interim program coordinator for an approximately one year term that will also act as the chairperson of the Partnership.  This position is required to accommodate maternity leave for the current program coordinator from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. The start date will be December 15, 2019 to allow time for training, and there is a potential for the position to be extended beyond the end date.  As the Chair of the KLP, the coordinator will take an objective role and remain as neutral as possible in the conduct of the business of the Kootenay Lake Partnership.

 

Scope of Work

  • The Coordinator will facilitate and act as Chair of all quarterly Kootenay Lake Partnership meetings
  • Ensure decisions are made on the basis of consensus
  • Record and distribute meeting notes along with any other relevant information
  • Maintain the KLP website
  • Enable access to Dropbox for all KLP members
  • Ensure the active participation of KLP members for quarterly meetings, public information sessions, technical review committees or as requested by KLP
  • Apply for grant funding as directed by KLP, submit grant reports
  • Keep accurate financial records of KLP activities, with the support of RDCK
  • Act as the spokesperson for the Partnership communicating with the media and the public in consultation with the RDCK contract manager and Living Lakes Canada (LLC)
  • Deliver concise, clear, factually accurate, complete and audience appropriate oral and written communication, briefing reports, and information materials on complex subjects
  • Liaise with Friends of Kootenay Lake and other non-profit organizations on public outreach initiatives as directed by the KLP
  • Assist KLP to prepare training materials/events on the use and implementation of the Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document with applicable agencies and sectors
  • Prepare shoreline property owners information mailout
  • Work with Living Lakes Canada’s Foreshore Inventory Mapping for Aquatic Species at Risk project to align KLP initiatives
  • Support revisions to the Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document as required
  • Engage with potentially contentious audiences and facilitate dispute resolution
  • Stay current on all information and project material solicited through contracted services by the KLP steering committee and any information relevant from the East Kootenay Integrated Lake Management Partnership (EKILMP)
  • Conduct administrative duties as required
  • Other duties as required

 

About Living Lakes Canada:

Living Lakes Canada facilitates collaboration in education, monitoring, restoration and policy development initiatives for the long-term protection of Canada’s lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds. We work collaboratively with scientists, all levels of government including First Nations, industry, academia, and community based organizations. Our mandate is to help Canadians understand the intimate connections between water quantity, water quality, land-use, climate change, biodiversity, and healthy human communities by fostering a water stewardship ethic that all Canadians can be proud of.  

Living Lakes Canada is affiliated with Living Lakes International, a global network of 111 non-government organizations that share the mission to enhance the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds throughout the world. Living Lakes Canada is a registered BC Society and charitable organization.

Start-up water monitoring program benefits from STREAM

The Friends of the Lardeau River (FLR) is a non-profit society focused on environmental protection of the Lardeau River in Meadow Creek, BC,  and the fish and wildlife values supported by this river. 

FLR Project Manager Sage Raymond has been working in the Lardeau River area for several years and has taken on the task of reviving the local watershed group, which has been extremely challenged by budget and equipment limitations, and is completely run by volunteers. 

Extremely passionate about the watershed, Sage has developed a 2-year water monitoring program. Participating in the STREAM eDNA project on September 16, 2019 was a great addition to FLR’s new sampling program, and provided them with invaluable assistance. 

Living Lakes Canada sampled 3 sites in the Meadow Creek area (Mobbs Creek, Hope Creek, and Lardeau River) on September 16, 2019 together with FLR.

Read Sage’s personal account to learn more: 

“Spending a day performing CABIN sampling and eDNA collection with Living Lakes Canada was an invaluable experience! As the project manager on the board of Friends of Lardeau River (FLR), it was really wonderful to have the opportunity to sample with Living Lakes Canada and learn about the organization’s forward-thinking objectives and initiatives. Besides learning about CABIN sampling and eDNA protocol, I gained valuable insight regarding selection of streams for sampling, strategies for public outreach, and the big-picture importance of this type of water monitoring. 

Further, since FLR is just beginning our water monitoring program, it was great to have some hands-on advice and guidance regarding ensuring the success and conservation value of the program. 

I look forward to sharing what I learned with other FLR members and with members of the community, especially through a planned sampling day with local secondary students. 

I am hopeful that the work of Living Lakes Canada (and FLR’s contributions to them!) will enhance conservation and stewardship opportunities and initiatives in the Lardeau River Watershed.”

The Friends of the Lardeau River are on Facebook — follow their page HERE.

Sudbury stewardship group inspired by STREAM training

Junction Creek Stewardship Committee (JCSC) staff and volunteers had an interesting couple of days in September thanks to a partnership with Living Lakes Canada, World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the University of Guelph.

Junction Creek in Sudbury, ON.

Meeting early on a Wednesday morning, staff, volunteers and interested parties from around the province gathered at the JCSC office to embark on a short but exciting journey into the land of bugs, or — if we’re being scientific — benthic macroinvertebrates.

These creatures, found all around the world in streams, creeks, rivers and lakes, play an exceptionally important role in aquatic ecosystems. In addition to being found in lakes and rivers throughout Canada, these creatures are long lived, remain stationary within streams, and exhibit a wide array of tolerances to water pollution. These characteristics make benthic invertebrates (commonly referred to as benthos) excellent bio-indicators of water quality, and can therefore be a very useful tool in assessing stream health.

Coming back to our early morning gathering, the group had come together for the purpose of earning CABIN certifications. The Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) is a nationally recognized protocol used for collecting benthos for the purposes of assessing the water quality of Canada’s  rivers and streams. For staff and volunteers at the JCSC, this was an exciting opportunity to gain a better understanding of the health of Junction Creek and help inform our future restoration activities.

In addition to the CABIN certification, this project also included involvement in the STREAM project, an exciting new venture out of the University of Guelph using DNA metabarcoding to determine which species of benthos are present in a body of water. But before we could join organizations from across Canada in conducting surveys and contributing to STREAM, we first had to finish our CABIN certifications.

The process of carrying out a CABIN survey includes a number of components. First, and most important, is collecting the bugs. Our trainers explained how to conduct the 3-minute survey which involved a specialized fine-meshed net and vigorous kicking and splashing in the creek. The bugs we are looking to collect attach themselves to rocks and debris found at the bottom of streams and it takes a lot of work to dislodge them.

After collecting bugs, the next job is to gather environmental data. This data is used to give us a more complete picture of stream health. Some of the tasks included determining the type of substrate the creek bottom was made up of, assessing the vegetation communities both in water and along the creek banks, and measuring water chemistry parameters including pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, the whole process can easily take more than two hours, and takes great attention to detail to ensure everything is done correctly. Practising took the group the better part of two days before everyone felt confident enough to carry out an entire survey with no help from our trainers.

Completing the two-day certification course was an exhausting but rewarding process. By the end, thanks to our excellent trainers, JCSC staff and volunteers were confident and excited to put our new skills to work throughout Junction Creek. Staff will be conducting surveys throughout the fall so be sure to stop and say hi if you see us in the creek! We’re always happy to talk and answer any questions about the work we’re doing.

Learn more about the JCSC. Visit https://junctioncreek.com/.

Join our team! We are hiring an Administrative Director

 

Administrative Director Position Description

Living Lakes Canada is seeking a passionate, creative, and driven Administrative Director to join our team. This is a 0.5 Full Time Equivalent (20 hours per week) contract, with the possibility to increase hours. 

  • Location: Columbia Basin-wide
  • Salary range: $25,000 – $30,000 (negotiable, depending on experience)
  • Start Date: December 1, 2019
  • Application Closing Date: November 1, 2019

 

About Living Lakes Canada:

Living Lakes Canada facilitates collaboration in education, monitoring, restoration and policy development initiatives for the long-term protection of Canada’s lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds. We work collaboratively with scientists, all levels of government including First Nations, industry, academia, and community based organizations. Our mandate is to help Canadians understand the intimate connections between water quantity, water quality, land-use, climate change, biodiversity, and healthy human communities by fostering a water stewardship ethic that all Canadians can be proud of.  

Living Lakes Canada has led water stewardship initiatives in the Columbia Basin for over two decades, and were instrumental in establishing Friends of Kootenay Lake, Lake Windermere Ambassadors, Stewards of the Lac La Biche Watershed, and most recently Brilliant Headpond Stewardship Collaborative. Our water stewardship work has been recognized by the Federal government as a best practices example in community-based monitoring, and we were awarded the “Land Award” by the Real Estate Foundation of BC, “Water Hero” award by WWF Canada, and “Water’s Next” award by Water Canada.

Living Lakes Canada is affiliated with Living Lakes International, a global network of over 120 non-government organizations that share the mission to enhance the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds throughout the world. Living Lakes Canada is a registered BC Society and charitable organization.

 

Position Description:

We are seeking an Administrative Director with experience in the non-profit sector to manage and improve the efficiency of our organization’s administrative operations. The responsibilities  of the Administrative Director will include improving organizational systems and management, overseeing human resource requirements, administrative functions, meeting coordination and facilitation, funding administration and management, financial and reporting requirements, and developing operational procedures and policies. 

The successful candidate will possess strong leadership skills, analytical and strategic thinking abilities, finance and budgeting skills, the ability to multi-task and have strong interpersonal skills. The Administrative Director will work independently, but collaborate with a strong team of 10 contractors, staff and professionals.

 

Administrative Director Responsibilities: 

  • Oversee and administer grants including contribution agreements and reporting requirements
  • Support the Board of Directors including organizing quarterly and annual board meetings, including financial updates
  • Process invoices, manage contractual agreements, and oversee expense allocations
  • Review quarterly financial reports against program budgets and expenses
  • Ensure BC Society and CRA reporting and filing requirements are met
  • Work with our accounting firm to complete the annual audit
  • Work with the program team to complete the organizational annual report
  • Manage organizational filing structure and back-up systems
  • Oversee staff and contractor evaluations
  • Oversee strategic planning and updates
  • Maintain and update insurance policies as needed
  • Participate as a member of the team on weekly calls and quarterly meetings
  • Support communications team as needed
  • Support program team as needed
  • Manage databases

 

Administrative Director Requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in a related field
  • Demonstrated experience working in an operations, administration or management role
  • Reliable, self-motivated and independent with a demonstrated ability to collaborate well within a team
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, set priorities, meet deadlines and support others to do the same
  • Understanding of NGO operations, including fundraising, finances, administration, human resources, strategic planning and team building
  • Strong writing skills
  • Commitment to Living Lakes Canada’s mission

 

To Apply:

Applicants are asked to send a cover letter and CV in PDF form to info@livinglakescanada.ca on or before November 1, 2019. While we hope the successful candidate will start December 1, 2019, we will continue to accept applications until the right candidate is selected. We thank all applicants for their interest, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

OCTOBER 2019 NEWS STREAM

“The two-day workshop hosted by Living Lakes Canada with support from World Wildlife Fund–Canada itself was engaging, very hands-on, and a lot of fun! Going over the procedures three times offered a terrific way to learn. Round one – ‘just watch the coaches do this – no magic here – you can do this too, just follow the protocols’. Round two – ‘put on your gear, all boots and hands in the water, work with the tools, follow the procedures – just do it!’ Round three – ‘ok, we know what needs to be done now and how to do it properly – let’s see if we can get it right this time and do it perfectly!’.”

~ Excerpt from guest blog by Ghost Watershed Alliance Society CABIN team about their CABIN workshop in Canmore, AB in July

Web link: https://mailchi.mp/e6c1b91900c9/living-lakes-canada-news-stream-october-2019

 

Raising awareness around the essential role of groundwater

Guest Blog submitted by Nicole Fulcher, B.C. Groundwater Protection Officer

Groundwater is an important resource and is becoming more essential for our needs and to support ecological function. In many areas in British Columbia, it is the only freshwater source and it is heavily relied on. With climate change, there is increasing uncertainty with surface water supply, and groundwater can provide a vital resource of freshwater.

However, groundwater needs to be protected, managed, and used in a sustainable way. My career and experience in environmental sciences and working with groundwater has made the importance of groundwater protection and sustainable use very clear. I am the new Groundwater Protection Officer for the West Coast Region with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and I have been working with groundwater in various roles since 2008.

 Prior to my current position, I was the Groundwater Program Lead with Living Lakes Canada on their Columbia Basin Community-Based Groundwater Monitoring Program.  This program aims to collect much-needed data on groundwater aquifers within the Columbia River Basin, and was the first of its kind to operate in British Columbia. The data collected helps make informed decisions on groundwater use within the Columbia Basin. It will also be used to assess how climate change is impacting groundwater levels within the area.

An important part of the program is to involve and empower the communities that use the groundwater through citizen-based science, outreach, and education.  I feel that community engagement and involvement is very important because groundwater protection relies heavily on how individuals manage and maintain their own wells and groundwater sources. Working with Living Lakes Canada on this program gave me better insight and experience working with water supply wells and communities that rely on them. It helped to inspire my growing interest in groundwater and helped me develop more skills in this area. Working with groundwater has been a rewarding and challenging field of work for me so far, and I look forward to settling into my new role.

My current position focuses on groundwater protection through compliance and applicable provincial regulations. Essentially, my goal is to protect groundwater sources by ensuring that groundwater wells are drilled, maintained, and operated in ways that protect the water that so many rely on.

To help protect and conserve groundwater resources, some things that you can do are:

  • be efficient with water use
  • keep your well properly capped and maintained
  • keep the well area free from debris and possible sources of contamination
  • ensure that your wells and pumps are installed and serviced by qualified professionals who are registered with the Province of British Columbia

Also, to help with groundwater conservation and informed management, you can register your domestic well so that it is considered in decisions made for authorizations to use groundwater in your area. If you have questions or concerns about your well or another well, there are many resources available via gov.bc.ca for groundwater well owners and users. Questions, concerns, and other inquiries can be directed toward FrontCounter BC at 1-877-855-3222 or to groundwater@gov.bc.ca.

Nicole Fulcher is the West Coast Region Groundwater Protection Office for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Conference draws attention to impacted B.C. lakes

Living Lakes Canada attended and presented at the BC Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS) Annual Conference – Understanding BC Lakes in Changing Times — that was held in Winfield, BC from October 4-6, 2019. 

The conference brought together experts around the province to discuss how climate impacts and pressures on B.C. lakes can be addressed and what can be done to preserve, protect and restore the lakes we love.

Dr. Ken Ashley, BCIT Rivers Institute

Living Lakes Canada shared information on using community-based water monitoring to understand watersheds. Year 1 milestones of the STREAM project were presented, including building momentum for a national community-based water monitoring project using the emerging technology of DNA metabarcoding in 5 watersheds across Canada.

Other LLC projects shared included Foreshore Inventory Mapping and Shoreline Development Guidance for Columbia Basin Species at Risk, Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program and the Roundtable for Community-based Water Monitoring.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Ken Ashley, BCIT Rivers Institute, who spoke about the effects of climate change on lakes and fisheries, and the need to get non-point source pollutants under control to stop eutrophication of small, shallow B.C. lakes. Ashley also warned of the warming climate and the tipping of feedback loops that have already shown to have serious damage on the health of many B.C. lakes. He shared his technologies for reversing these impacts — a step, but only a band-aid to the larger problem.

Participants who attended the conference heard from experts about flood mitigation and the importance and possibilities of naturalizing shorelines; the Love Your Lake program, developed in Ontario and being implemented on Okanagan Lake; invasive mussels and the economic risk; and the provincial stewardship network and the rules of engagement. A local research study was shared on large powerboat impacts on stormwater contaminated sediments and a reminder about the importance of observational data while in the field (“follow your senses”).

Living Lakes Canada is a proud member of the BC Lake Stewardship Society. For more information on the BC Lake Stewardship Society and the great programs they offer — including LakeKeepers — visit their website: https://www.bclss.org/

 

CABIN training with the Adventure Scientists in the Columbia Valley

Living Lakes Canada is excited to be partnering with the Adventure Scientists in the Columbia Valley, BC area from September 24 to 27.

The initiative is a two-day CABIN training course adapted to include eDNA analysis for the STREAM project, followed by two days of data collection from remote lakes and streams.

“It was identified by Martin Carver in his 2017 water monitoring report that high alpine lakes in the Columbia Basin are missing a lot of data,” said Living Lakes Canada program manager Raegan Mallinson, who will be leading the training. “We want to focus on high alpine lakes and tributaries in our data collection for STREAM.”

STREAM is a three-year community-based project with the aim of collecting 1,500 bulk DNA samples from rivers across Canada to assess and monitor river health. 

By training Adventure Scientists volunteers on the national protocol for data collection, Living Lakes Canada hopes these trained volunteers will contribute to the STREAM project by collecting samples from remote tributaries that otherwise would not be included in the analysis.

Adventure Scientists is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that equips partners with data collected from the outdoors that are crucial to addressing environmental and human health challenges.

By recruiting, training and managing individuals with strong outdoor skills — such as mountaineering, diving or whitewater kayaking — they provide their partners with reliable and otherwise unobtainable data.

Up to 20 volunteers — both Canadians and Americans — will be participating in the Living Lakes Canada CABIN training and are committed to collecting samples of water-dwelling invertebrates according to the project protocol at 2-3 locations between Brisco and Canal Flats during the data collection days of the course.

“Moving forward, we’re hoping these volunteers can collect samples for STREAM in watersheds where we have already established relationships and where community-based water monitoring groups want extra support,” Raegan said.

So far this year, Living Lakes Canada has conducted courses and data collection in 5 priority watersheds for Year 1, including the Columbia Basin, the Skeena and the Peace/Athabasca in British Columbia, the Bow Valley in Alberta and Sudbury in Ontario.

To learn more, visit: https://livinglakescanada.ca/projects/cabin-edna/

COURSE RESULTS:

  • 14 volunteers & 2 Adventure Scientists staff were trained
  • 36 samples collected from 12 sites (tributaries to the Columbia River)
  • 2 days of training
  • 1 day of monitoring

 

Alberta watershed group shares CABIN training experience

Guest Blog submitted by the Ghost Watershed CABIN Team

Have to say, we thoroughly enjoyed the recent CABIN workshop in Canmore, Alberta this summer and are happy to share some highlights from our team members.

Our team was made up of three Board members (Cal, Bryne and Bob) and the Executive Director (Marina) of the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS). The Ghost River watershed is a sub-basin of the Bow River basin, largely situated northwest of Calgary, Alberta. The westerly parts of our watershed are pristine source-water environments within protected areas while other parts, closer and more accessible to Calgary, are intensively used for random camping and off-highway vehicle trails. It is a beautiful watershed, but under growing pressure from recreation, logging and other activities.

Several of our members having science-focused backgrounds knew about the CABIN protocol, which was developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Canada-wide network offered a great opportunity for learning. 

“I became aware of this initiative from an article in the Alberta Society of Professional Biologist summer newsletter (BIOS). This article by Alexander Elliott and Raegan Mallinson of Living Lakes Canada was entitled ‘STREAM: a community-based water monitoring program’. I followed up on their website link. Marina became aware from a presentation that Kat Hartwig, Living Lakes Canada Executive Director, gave at the Bow River Basin Council Quarterly Educational Forum in June 2019. We brought this forward to our Board of Directors and decided to become involved.” (Bryne)

We came with high expectations; here’s what we were hoping to accomplish together:

  1. to learn the techniques, processes and discipline of CABIN’s science-based approach to monitoring and assessing stream health;
  2. to better understand how aquatic ecosystems are impacted by land use and human activity;
  3. to learn and practice a sampling method that lends credibility to the findings and calls for restorative action in watersheds;
  4. to provide a solid foundation upon which to design a more comprehensive, systematic multi-year monitoring framework in the Ghost watershed;
  5. to learn of the resources available to watershed groups like ours to support water quality monitoring efforts; and
  6. to be part of a nation-wide method and network that contributes knowledge about the health of Canada’s rivers and streams!

That’s what we were hoping to learn and that’s what the knowledgeable and engaging STREAM team delivered – and more!

The pre-reading modules were essential, especially for those who did not already have a science-focused background. 

For a non-science guy like me, the concepts were made clear, concise and yet sufficiently detailed to appreciate the importance of what was being sampled and why the method had to be done in a systematic, repeatable way.” (Bob)

The two-day workshop hosted by Living Lakes Canada with support from World Wildlife Fund – Canada (WWF) itself was engaging, very hands-on, and a lot of fun!  Going over the procedures three times offered a terrific way to learn.  Round one – “just watch the coaches do this – no magic here – you can do this too, just follow the protocols”.  Round two – “put on your gear, all boots and hands in the water, work with the tools, follow the procedures – just do it!”  Round three – “ok, we know what needs to be done now and how to do it properly – let’s see if we can get it right this time and do it perfectly!”. 

“While the first training day was pretty intense and we were all getting a little cold and wet due to the rain showers, we were able to deepen our newly acquired knowledge on the second day, feeling confident that we can now do a good job as a team to complete the CABIN sampling successfully on our own.” (Marina) 

We really appreciated our bonus day with the field STREAM team following the workshop in Canmore – picking a site in the Ghost watershed and being coached through the process yet again – through rain and hail – a fourth run at getting the method under our belts while constantly receiving additional knowledge and insight by the STREAM team. We are thankful that there will be ongoing support from Raegan Mallinson (LLC) and Catherine Paquette (WWF) – we’ll do it right, keep learning and be part of something bigger that’s happening across Canada. Our data will contribute to the national community-based monitoring program developed by the STREAM project. With a goal to collect benthic samples for analysis by the University of Guelph using cutting-edge technology of DNA metabarcoding, we know that our efforts are helping to validate this new technology while also filling important data gaps.

So what opportunities has this training opened up for our Ghost watershed team?

  1. One of us (Bryne) has signed up for the additional modules to become the Project Manager, able to design and lead a thoughtful, comprehensive sampling program in our watershed over the next three years; “This is a fantastic opportunity to fulfill one of the recommendations in our recent “State of the Watershed Report.”  (Bryne)
  2. Our Board has included the CABIN sampling program in our three year business plan as a Board priority.  “The CABIN sampling program fits extremely well with the mission and vision of GWAS.  The timing was good as we were trying to find a way we could better monitor the health of the creeks and rivers within the watershed.  The CABIN program fits our needs perfectly, giving us a credible tool that non-experts can use.” (Cal)   “I’d say it has also stretched our thinking to be more strategic about how we prioritize sampling locations and schedule this work as part of a more comprehensive multi-year research approach for our watershed.”  (Bob)
  3. Our team is keen to begin the sampling program in our watershed in 2020; assembling our Tool Kit and looking to expand the circle of trained volunteers.  “Beyond those of us trained in the CABIN protocol now, we are looking forward to getting our membership involved in the sampling process, connecting them to the watershed and showing them that there is more to be discovered than what first meets the eye. I still remember the first time I saw a benthic invertebrate sample being taken in our watershed as part of an event several years ago. Seeing the diversity and abundance of invertebrates found in the stream significantly changed my perspective of the river.” (Marina)

We want to give a shout-out to the Canmore STREAM team: Raegan, Catherine and Alexander. 

“I was really impressed by the passion and enthusiasm expressed by the STREAM team – this was infectious and really made the whole experience very enjoyable!”  (Cal) 

You taught us, included us in your circle, and set us on a new path to better understand, document and assess the health of streams in our watershed – we appreciate your efforts and support very much. 

The Ghost Watershed CABIN Team – Bryne, Cal, Marina and Bob

 

With the support of

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