Living Lakes Canada joins global water stewards in Spain

Valencia, Spain – May 15, 2019: Members of the Living Lakes Canada team just finished attending a Living Lakes International Conference in Valencia, Spain. This was a powerful experience that provided a valuable opportunity to listen, learn, and share experiences around water stewardship, especially around wetlands and climate change impacts. This conference was the 20th anniversary celebration of Living Lakes and was attended by over 200 delegates from 41 countries.

Living Lakes Canada team members presenting at the 15th International Conference on Lakes & Wetlands in Spain, starting second from the left: Avery Deboer-Smith, Claire Pollock-Hall, and Raegan Mallinson  LLC Photo

Living Lakes Canada was represented at the conference by Nelson, BC residents Avery Deboer-Smith, Claire Pollock-Hall and Jayme Jones, and Squamish resident Raegan Mallinson (formerly of Nelson).

“These four young women represented the Columbia Basin and spoke to an international delegation about their water stewardship work, sharing what they’re doing at a grassroots regional and national level,” said Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig, who also attended the conference. “Climate change adaptation measures for wetlands and all the species that depend on them are a global problem and presented a common bond for all the participants.”

The Living Lakes Canada team learned about climate change impacts and water systems around the world, from peat extraction in England releasing carbon emissions to the mining impacts on lakes and wetlands in Mongolia, to how climate change and population pressures have impacted water quality and invasive species resulting in the population decline the manatee population in Malawi, Africa.

There were many positive and innovative solutions and collaborations presented. One example was how an organization in India trained citizen scientists to monitor and assist mangrove reforestation, as well as developed economic incentives to help support the local economies. An organization from Colombia shared success stories about cost-effective green filters developed to improve water quality in locations around the world.

The young delegates left the conference feeling more connected and empowered due to support from the global Living Lakes network, which connects concerned and engaged water stewards from around the world who are addressing water and climate issues.

“The Living Lakes Canada team will continue to work with and learn from water champions from other countries as well as share our citizen science success stories that have taken place right here in the Columbia Basin,” said Hartwig.

“We were very grateful that Kicking Horse Coffee helped support our participation in this important international wetlands conference,” she concluded.

Additional Conference Resources include:
General Meeting Minutes
Keynote Presentations
“Living Lakes Achievements and Goals 2019 – 2025” brochure

Elevating CBWM in Canada webinar — recording available

The “Elevating CBWM in Canada” webinar is an overview of a year-long collaborative initiative designed to celebrate and promote community-based monitoring of freshwater ecosystems in and across Canada. 

ACCESS THE WEBINAR RECORDING HERE
(An audio transcript is also available.)

In November 2018, a national roundtable discussion on the topic of “Elevating community-based water monitoring in Canada” was convened by Living Lakes Canada, WWF-Canada and The Gordon Foundation. All three organizations engage with Community-Based Water Monitoring (CBWM) in different ways and are committed to advancing collaborative and evidence-based water stewardship across Canada. The aim of the roundtable was to identify actionable steps the federal government can take to show leadership and support in advancing CBWM in Canada.

Out of that Roundtable came the following resources:

The “Elevating CBWN in Canada” webinar was hosted in April 2019 by WWF-Canada, during which the history and the process behind the initiative was revisited, the final recommendations were presented, and next steps were discussed.

Living Lakes Canada to celebrate many milestones at world wetlands conference

Living Lakes Canada is heading to Valencia, Spain for the 15th International Living Lakes Conference on May 7-9, 2019.

The conference, titled the “World Congress for Wetland and Lake Restoration”, will mark two other milestones: the 20th anniversary of the international Living Lakes network, and 15 years since an International Living Lakes Conference was held in Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C., which led to the formation of Living Lakes Canada in 2010.

“We’re very excited to be participating in this international wetlands event. We are able to do so thanks to the interest of Kicking Horse Coffee, which was a sponsor and participant in the Fairmont conference 15 years ago and has provided support for increased stewardship for our local wetlands,” said Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig.

CAPTION: The Columbia Wetlands in the East Kootenay, BC are a RAMSAR-designated Wetland of International Importance still in need of protection and stewardship. Photo by Heather Leschied/Living Lakes Canada

The 2004 International Living Lakes Conference in Fairmont showcased the Columbia River headwaters and Columbia Wetlands, a RAMSAR-designated Wetland of International Importance. The CEO of Kicking Horse Coffee, Elana Rosenfeld, addressed the conference theme of engaged corporate and social responsibility for the environment. The CEOs of Mountain Equipment Co-op and Unilever Canada also spoke about the significance of the Columbia River headwaters and wetlands on a global scale.  

“It feels like we have come full circle in a way,” said Heather Leschied, Operations Director for Living Lakes Canada, “so it is quite meaningful that Living Lakes Canada will be travelling to Spain, not only to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Living Lakes network, but 15 years since the International Living Lakes Conference was held in Canada and was the inspiration for all of our Living Lakes Canada water stewardship work. These conferences support engaged, passionate people to share how their contributions to the health of watersheds are making a difference, and are incredibly motivating and impactful.”

Five of Living Lakes Canada’s team members will be attending the Valencia conference and highlights will include visiting local wetland restoration sites and connecting with Living Lakes International partners to share best community­-based water stewardship practices.

Living Lakes Canada will reciprocate by presenting on some of the exciting work currently underway in the Columbia Basin and across Canada:

Several of the Living Lakes Canada team members will be staying after the conference to join Living Lakes International on a trip to Sierra de Mariola and the ecological cellar as well as a trip to Marjal dels Moros Coastal Wetland. The team hopes to bring back lessons from this experience and integrate it into the work they are doing in Canada.

“Having the opportunity to showcase our work to international partners is invaluable. Our team works so hard and is so passionate about the change we are making through our projects,” said Living Lakes Canada Program Coordinator Avery Deboer-Smith. “We are also looking forward to learning from our international partners and creating new relationships that will advance Living Lakes Canada.”

Access the 15th International Living Lakes Conference website here. 

 

New eDNA project STREAM launching Spring/Summer 2019

STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) DNA, is a new community-based project which involves the collection of eDNA 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 will work with interested partners including community and water stewardship groups, academia, Indigenous communities, all levels of government and industry to collect data for stream health assessments.

This project will use an updated version of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol, developed by ECCC to collect eDNA 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. See infographics below.

The University of Guelph received a $2.6 million grant from Genome Canada to support eDNA sample analysis for communities for 3 years. The goal is to collect 1500 samples from 15 nationally distributed watersheds over 3 years (5 watersheds/year) with community-based water monitoring (CBWM). Participants will learn and build skills for stream health assessments, open sourced data inputs and access while using new, more cost-effective technology. Following the announcement earlier this year, the STREAM project will focus on 5 priority watersheds for Year 1 including the Columbia, Skeena Liard in British Columbia, the Bow Valley in Alberta and Sudbury in Ontario.

Living Lakes Canada will train and certify interested organizations using an adapted CABIN protocol to include eDNA analysis. Participants will receive their 2-day CABiN field practicum certification during the courses. Living Lakes Canada and partners will assist interested organizations in their first year of sampling, offering knowledge in site selection and monitoring. The organizations will then commit to maintaining the project in later years, submitting samples to the University of Guelph and commit to sharing data in open platforms.

Our first CABIN course is scheduled for the Columbia Basin for June 12 and 13 in Nelson, BC.

We also have scheduled courses in:

Canmore, AB July 16 & 17

Sudbury, ON September 17 & 18

If you have questions about this course, please email LLC Program Manager Raegan Mallinson at raegan@livinglakescanada.ca.

For more information on the CABIN protocol and biomonitoring, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-aquatic-biomonitoring-network.html

For more information on course costs, modules and levels of training and registration visit:

 http://canadianriversinstitute.com/training/cabin/

 

WEBINAR: Elevating Community-Based Water Monitoring in Canada

Date: April 17, 2019
Start Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)
Type: other
Cost: $0.00
Location: Online
Phone: 250-505-4311
Email: raegan@livinglakescanada.ca

Please join us for a presentation and discussion about the exciting outcomes of a year-long collaborative initiative designed to celebrate and promote community-based monitoring of freshwater ecosystems in across Canada. We are pleased to present final recommendations developed to identify actionable steps the federal government can take to show leadership and support in advancing community-based water monitoring (CBWM) in Canada.

During this webinar we’ll revisit the history and the process behind the initiative, dive into the recommendations and discuss next steps.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 Ahead of the webinar, be sure to explore the final recommendations and discussion paper.

CBWN Roundtable Final Recommendations released

These recommendations are the outcome of the national roundtable discussion convened in November, 2018 by Living Lakes Canada, WWF-Canada and The Gordon Foundation. All three organizations engage with Community-Based Water Monitoring (CBWM) in different ways and are committed to advancing collaborative and evidence-based water stewardship across Canada.

The Roundtable was aimed at identifying actionable steps the federal government can take to show leadership and support in advancing community-based monitoring of freshwater ecosystems in Canada.

Elevating Community-Based Water Monitoring in Canada Resource Package:

Read the LLC blog about the Roundtable here.

March 2019 News Stream

“A thirst exists within Basin communities for greater influence over governance of local water resources.” 

Dr. Martin Carver, from the Executive Summary of Water Monitoring and Climate Change in the Upper Columbia Basin – Guidance Information for Planning Monitoring Programs

Web link: https://mailchi.mp/8bdd3ae03527/living-lakes-canada-news-stream-march-2019

Living Lakes Canada team heading to Spain

On May 7-9, 2019 in Valencia, Spain, the global Living Lakes Network will mark its 20th anniversary with the 15th International Living Lakes Conference. The conference, titled the World Congress for Wetland and Lake Restoration, will be based on the theme “Living Lakes – Business and NGO Partnerships for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation”.

Five of Living Lakes Canada’s team members will be attending the conference – highlights will include visiting local wetland restoration sites and connecting with Living Lakes International partners to share best community-based water stewardship practices. Stay tuned for photos and stories from the team’s experience.

VISIT THE EVENT WEBSITE HERE

The Living Lakes Network is a permanent initiative created by Global Nature Fund in 1998. The network – coordinated by GNF – is steadily growing. Currently there are 111 member lakes and wetlands represented by about 140 organizations from over 50 countries. Around one third of the network members are very active and engaged in activities and projects. One third is occasionally active from time to time and one third is rather passive. The network members are highly diverse, from small grass-root NGOs to larger and powerful institutions. In some organizations, water ecosystems are a clear central focus, in some others it is only part of a broader working portfolio. Living Lakes has a very practical orientation and the exchange of experience and the realization of concrete projects are in the focus of the members. The Living Lakes Conferences have always been very important tool to keep the contact between the partners and discuss create new activities. Important benefits from a partner’s perspective are joint projects and (political) support in local and global lake preservation.

The Living Lakes Network has tackled many challenges, grown together and developed a mutual trust over the years. The 20th anniversary of the network is a reason to celebrate the success story of Living Lakes, to pass in review and forging out plans for the future.

Executive Director interview in Water Canada Magazine

The recipient of two 2017 Water’s Next Awards – Water Steward of the Year and Non-Government Organization Winner – Living Lakes Canada Kat Hartwig was recently interviewed by Water Canada Magazine about her work as one of Canada’s top water stewards and this interview appears in the March/April 2019 issue of the magazine, which is available both online and in print.

To read an excerpt of Kat’s Water Steward feature, visit: https://www.watercanada.net/feature/water-steward/

To access the full interview as a PDF, go to:

https://livinglakescanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/WC105_MarApr2019_28-30.pdf

INTRO: 

Kat Hartwig brings her passion for environmental protection to her role as the executive director of Living Lakes Canada, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting, restoring, and rehabilitating water bodies and watersheds.

Under Hartwig’s leadership, the organization has been working on a number of projects and initiatives to help individuals understand the impacts of climate change.

 

Groundwater data now available on the B.C. Real-time Water Data Tool

Groundwater level data that are collected as part of the Living Lakes Canada Groundwater Monitoring Program are now available on the “Real-time Water Data” tool. Living Lakes Canada collects hourly groundwater data, which are stored in data loggers and downloaded approximately two to four times per year. The data are then uploaded to the Real-time Water Data tool where they can be accessed by the public.

The Real-time Water Data Tool is managed by the Provincial Government. They now have information and a streamlined process for data partners to share their continuous (time series) water related data. Their goal is to capture automated groundwater, water quality, hydrometric and snow data, and make it available as a shared resource through the Real-time Water Data tool and the Data Catalogue under Open Government Licence.

If you have data you would like to share check out the new Data Submission Webpage.

For questions or comments on the Real-time Water Data tool,  submit your queries to Aquarius@gov.bc.ca and for the LLC Groundwater Monitoring Program queries can be submitted to carol@livinglakescanada.ca.

Learn more about the Groundwater Monitoring Program here.

 

With the support of