A Snapshot of CBWM in Canada

Completed

A Snapshot of CBWM in Canada
Community-based monitoring (CBM) is providing invaluable support to the monitoring of Canada’s freshwater resources. The diminished capacity of governments to monitor the health of watersheds and the absence of freshwater data in many regions across Canada has prompted communities to take a formative role in the water monitoring of their respective watersheds.

A Snapshot of CBWM in Canada


Key Takeaways:

  1. Living Lakes Canada co-authored this CBWM Snapshot Report (Fall 2017) with Simon Fraser University and Acadia University.
  2. This nation-wide survey of CBM organizations indicates that CBM programs are filling information gaps on watershed health, informing decision-making at various levels of government, and fostering environmental stewardship in communities across Canada.
  3. Furthermore, the majority of CBM programs are following scientifically-rigorous protocols, having their data analyzed by professional scientists, and addressing a diversity of community concerns relating to the health of freshwater resources.

Living Lakes Canada co-authored this CBWM Snapshot Report (Fall 2017) with the Adaptation to Climate Change Team at Simon Fraser University and Acadia University following a 2016 survey.

The health of Canada’s freshwater is consistently ranked as a high priority for Canadians. Water monitoring is a tool used by governments and communities alike to assess the health of watersheds and improve decision-making about freshwater resources. This tool is particularly effective when monitoring data are consistent, accurate, and robust.

However, at present, there are insufficient data to assess the health of more than half of Canada’s major watersheds. This issue is further complicated by the decreasing capacity of governments to collect water data in recent decades. In response to these challenges, and the growing concerns of citizens regarding watershed health, Canada is experiencing an upsurge of community-based monitoring (CBM).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

"Community-based monitoring (CBM) is providing invaluable support to the monitoring of Canada’s freshwater resources. The diminished capacity of governments to monitor the health of watersheds and the absence of freshwater data in many regions across Canada has prompted communities to take a formative role in the water monitoring of their respective watersheds. Our research, consisting of a nation-wide survey of CBM organizations, indicates that CBM programs are filling information gaps on watershed health, informing decision-making at various levels of government, and fostering environmental stewardship in communities across Canada. Furthermore, the majority of CBM programs are following scientifically-rigorous protocols, having their data analysed by professional scientists, and addressing a diversity of community concerns relating to the health of freshwater resources. However, ongoing challenges for CBM include inadequate or unpredictable funding, inconsistent monitoring protocols, and difficulty in translating diverse and regionally specific data to coherent recommendations for decision-makers. More consistent and extensive water quality and quantity data is needed in order to address human and water ecosystem health concerns. As government capacity to monitor freshwater has fluctuated in recent decades and gaps in our knowledge of Canada’s watershed health remain, understanding the current state of CBM programs and their potential to inform decision-making is paramount."

 

A Snapshot of CBWM in Canada

Status - Completed


Categories


Water Bodies
GroundwaterLakesRivers, Creeks and StreamsWetlands
Regions
National
Collaborators
AcademiaCommunity groupsFNGovernment – FederalGovernment – Provincial
Types of Work
Citizen ScienceCommunity Based MonitoringPolicySurvey

Resources