First Nations CABIN course featured in Water Canada Magazine

A CABIN training delivered by Living Lakes Canada and WWF-Canada to the Blueberry River First Nations in B.C.’s Peace Region last summer for the STREAM project is the subject of a feature story in Water Canada Magazine’s just-released Jan/Feb 2020 issue: “The Quality of our Water: Working with the Blueberry River First Nations to restore and rehabilitate the watershed.”

Click on the cover image to access the article. 

EXCERPT: “The participants were confident carrying out the monitoring,” said Living Lakes Canada STREAM program manager Raegan Mallinson. “We learned so much from being on the land with the participants. BRFN showed us how strong a community can be when they work together; they taught us about loyalty to each other and the land, and they shared their hopes and struggles. It was an impactful experience working with BRFN and we look forward to continuing the relationship into the coming years.”

Taking in teachings from Northern Canada’s water stewards

Last October, Living Lakes Canada visited the Northwest Territories (NWT) to learn and share about community-based monitoring experiences in Northern Canada and beyond. Living Lakes Canada attended and presented at both the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy in Dettah, NWT and the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) Forum in Yellowknife, NWT.

The NWT has strong, Indigenous-led water monitoring programs that Living Lakes Canada has used as a model for community-based water monitoring initiatives in other regions of Canada, including the Columbia Basin.

The 10th Annual NWT Water Stewardship Strategy Implementation Workshop theme for 2019 was Northern Waters in a Changing Climate. Stories, ideas and the recent climate change research findings were shared by water partners working in various sectors from across the NWT.

Elders shared stories of the rapid change of the species present on the land, the current state of the land, and how these changes are impacting local daily life and culture. Researches spoke about climate change impacts such as slumping due to permafrost melt.

The workshop took place at the Chief Dry Geese Centre, a beautiful, circular, naturally lit building that overlooks Great Slave Lake. It was a setting that evoked the spirit of collaboration, relationship building and shared learning among attendees.

The 5th biennial CABIN Forum brought users of the CABIN protocol from across Canada together including Indigenous Peoples, community watershed stewards and scientists, all levels of government, and academia. The Forum provided an opportunity to focus on biomonitoring for the protection of freshwater ecosystem health in the north and across Canada. Potential future CABIN users were invited to learn about current CABIN activities, and share water monitoring experiences and local knowledge.

At the CABIN Forum, Living Lakes Canada shared experiences, challenges and lessons learned from leading the CABIN field practicum training across Canada over the last 5 years, as well as successes from the first year of the STREAM project, the national community-based water monitoring initiative using the new technology of DNA metabarcoding. 

“The cross-sector collaboration, along with the strong community participation and motivation for watershed protection that we witnessed, provided lessons and knowledge for us to bring back, share and implement within our communities,” said Living Lakes Canada Program Manager Raegan Mallinson. “We are grateful for the experience and shared learning that the water stewards of the north provided.”

Click on photos below to enlarge. 

Moving into 2020 with groundwater monitoring

As we move into 2020, the Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program will continue to partner with well owners to monitor groundwater levels to assess how they change seasonally and year to-year. 

We monitor existing groundwater wells that are not used to withdraw water so that ambient aquifer conditions are measured rather than drawdown from pumping in a particular well. Currently, the Program is monitoring wells in or near the Basin communities of ʔaq̓am, Blewett, Brisco, Castlegar, Cranbrook, Creston, Duhamel, Fairmont, Invermere, Playmor Junction, and Windermere. 

The most recent data for the majority of these sites are available on the BC Real-time Water Data website. The data helps citizens, community groups, water managers, water licensing officers, consultants and researchers understand groundwater conditions to inform water management and conservation actions.   

The Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program exhibited at the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council Agricultural Forum in Fort Steele, BC on November 21.

We wrapped up 2019 with attending the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council Agricultural Forum where we had an opportunity to learn from the agricultural community about water use and concerns and share information on the Groundwater Monitoring Program.

We also recently established an agreement to monitor an existing well on The Nature Trust of British Columbia’s Hoodoos Conservation Property north of Fairmont Hot Springs (click photos below to expand). This well provides a monitoring site on the benches of the Columbia Wetlands, which are likely important areas for groundwater recharge.

In 2020, in addition to monitoring the existing wells in the Program, we will establish additional monitoring sites across the Columbia Basin:

  • to increase awareness about groundwater;
  • to provide local site-specific data for use in groundwater management, and;
  • to guide conservation actions and adaptation to climate change. 

Visit our Groundwater Program page.

Living Lakes Canada attends Transboundary Conference

In November 2019, Living Lakes Canada attended the Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference in Spokane, Washington. The Forum’s mission is to establish a dialog to strengthen collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders who have interests in and around Lake Roosevelt, which resulted from creating a reservoir to support operational capacity at the Grand Coulee Dam, located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

This conference provided an opportunity for our team to connect with local and federal government, Native American Tribes, NGOs and academia who are working on projects that tie into Living Lakes Canada’s Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative. Partnering with groups south of the border in the future would allow a larger diversity of water data to be shared.

Networking with individuals and groups who are working under the current Columbia River Treaty was a great opportunity to link priorities such as salmon restoration and reintroduction into Living Lakes Canada’s diverse water monitoring programs.

 “It was inspiring to witness the increased tribal participation in the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) and collaboration between Native American Tribes who are advocating an ecosystem-based management approach,” said Program Manager Avery Deboer-Smith.

A 2010 document titled Common Views on the Future of the Columbia River Treaty continues to be the guiding less for all participating tribes. Updated in 2015, it outlines a proposal for representing Columbia Basin tribes’ interests in the reconsideration and implementation of a modernized treaty.

Sharing water data to help inform decisions around fish rehabilitation can lead to an enhanced importance of ecosystem-based functions in future negotiations of the CRT.

Learn more about the Lake Roosevelt Forum.

Travelling tour brings together Columbia Basin water stewardship groups

From November 25-28, 2019 the Columbia Basin Watershed Network (CBWN) Program Manager, a research student from the University of Vermont and team members from Living Lakes Canada (LLC) travelled throughout the Columbia Basin to connect with CBWN member groups through the CBWN Fall Meetings. The purpose of CBWN Fall Meetings travelling tour was to reach out to more members for their monitoring updates and issues they’re facing, as well as provide updates regarding the CBWN transition and collaboration with LLC on the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Collaborative. The Collaborative is currently directed by an Advisory and sub-committees to finalize a water monitoring framework and open source water data hub (water data commons*) that CBWN members will be able to access and contribute to.  

Alan Thomson – CBWN Board Member (Nelson meeting)

The first meeting in Nelson was very well-attended. The team heard about local water monitoring successes in addition to numerous concerns surrounding logging within local watersheds. Groups reiterated efforts to increase water quality monitoring in order to assess logging impacts on local water quality. Groups were encouraged to continue monitoring and record data to raise awareness and support decision makers in gauging impacts for required remediation. 

The New Denver meeting was well-attended and included a range of hydrology, agronomy and forestry experts who relayed information regarding their long-term monitoring work in creeks such as Bonanza, Carpenter and Silverton. Topics covered included invasive species monitoring, difficulties with access to monitoring sites, increased tributary temperature and associated impacts to fish and increased frequency of landslides as a result of logging. Recently, funding was awarded to rehabilitate three wetlands along Bonanza Creek, to enhance suitable wildlife habitat in the area while improving water quality. 

In the Invermere area, groups conducting detailed monitoring are noticing impacts to Kootenay River and Columbia Lake as a result of point source inputs from the Canal Flats area. The data collected also raised the need for a better understanding of the flow and gradient of the Kootenay River. All groups continue to suffer funding challenges. Community participation in monitoring remains high through involvement with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors and the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society.

The Cranbrook meeting completed the travelling tour, and was attended by employees from both the City of Cranbrook and Village of Canal Flats to discuss concerns for improved water management from a drinking water perspective as well as for source water protection. Flood mitigation and the relationship between water quality and climate change were raised along with air quality health concerns due to forest company slash burning. Considerable efforts are being made by local groups in their joint program development with First Nations youth and school groups as well as transboundary groups. Invasive mussels are a concern for groups in Montana with the development of highly technical detection systems proving to be useful for reducing the movement of Zebra and Quagga mussels into B.C. 

Groups were able to share concerns, discuss successes and brainstorm for future collaborations within the Basin. Collaboration will increase the overall success of community based water monitoring and data collection, and will support future management practices and decision makers. Thank you to all groups who took the time to attend! 

Click here for the full CBWN Fall Meeting Report. 

Join our team! We are hiring a Foreshore Inventory Mapping Program Manager

Foreshore Inventory Mapping for Aquatic Species at Risk Program Manager Position Overview

  • Title of Position: Program Manager, Maternity leave fill
  • Terms of Employment: January 15, 2020 to March 2021; Approximately 15 hours per week
  • Wage: To Be Determined
  • Location: Nelson, BC
  • Start Date: January 15, 2020
  • Deadline to Apply: December 20, 2019
  • Submit Application to: Heather Leschied, Operations Director, Living Lakes Canada at


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:

Living Lakes Canada is seeking a Program Manager to fill a maternity leave beginning March 2020 through March 2021. To facilitate training, the position start date will be January 15, 2020.  We are seeking an individual with experience in the non-profit sector to act as Program Manager for the Foreshore Inventory Mapping for Aquatic Species at Risk project.

The successful candidate will possess strong leadership, communications, inter-personal and organizational skills. The Program Manager will work independently, but collaborate with the Living Lakes Canada team, the Project Team and the project Technical Committee.


Project Description:

Foreshore Inventory Mapping (FIM) is a methodology developed in 2004 in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It maps foreshore habitats, assesses habitat value and establishes Shoreline Development Guidelines to conserve ecosystems and species of conservation concern. The Foreshore Inventory Mapping for Aquatic Species at Risk project will evaluate and revise FIM standards and methodologies to ensure the long-term credibility of the methods and provide a benchmark by which to compare habitat changes over time. FIM has been applied to 13 lakes across the Columbia Basin since 2006. The revised methodology will be applied to priority lakes as new or re-FIM projects, assessing the rate of change of shoreline health over time.


Program Manager Responsibilities: 

  • Manage grant Contribution Agreements
  • Compile and submit grant interim and final reports as required
  • Manage and issue Request for Proposals and contracts
  • Distribute and manage project documents and resources
  • Receive and collate input and comments on documents and files from partners and collaborators
  • Schedule and plan meetings, workshops, field events
  • Manage project budget
  • Communicate projects achievements to various partners and collaborators
  • Oversee project implementation and ensure timelines are being met


Program Manager Requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in a related field
  • Demonstrated experience in project and contractual management
  • Reliable, self-motivated and independent with a demonstrated ability to collaborate well within a team
  • Ability to set priorities and meet deadlines
  • Demonstrated personal accountability
  • Experience collaborating with multiple agencies, stakeholders and partners across different sectors
  • Strong communications skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • 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 by December 20, 2019. We thank all applicants for their interest, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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: 


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:


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

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