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.
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:
- The national stream health assessment protocol, the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN), and testing new eDNA technology developed by the University of Guelph.
- Groundwater monitoring and aquifer mapping in the Columbia Basin.
- Projects that collaborate or are in partnership with First Nations, academia, community members and all levels of government to restore and establish wetlands in the headwaters of the Columbia Basin, in Canada.
- How the transboundary Columbia Basin water monitoring collaborative will make water monitoring information open, accessible and available for engagement, education and management decisions in support of watershed stewardship.
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.”