Living Lakes Canada works to enhance the protection, the restoration, the rehabilitation, and the health of watersheds in B.C. and across Canada.
-We build capacity through community-based water monitoring to help address climate impacts. We promote and facilitate cross-sector collaboration and research to increase water literacy, and support progressive decision-making for improved water stewardship.
-Our successful leadership and stewardship templates have supported the creation of many other grassroots water stewardship groups. Living Lakes Canada has received multiple water stewardship awards, and has been recognized by the federal government as a “best practices” example in community-based ecological monitoring in Canada.
-Living Lakes Canada is the recipient of two 2017 Water’s Next Awards (Water Steward of the Year and Non-Government Organization Winner), and was featured in the March/April 2019 issue of Water Canada magazine for work as one of Canada’s top water stewards.
Living Lakes Canada is a registered charity and affiliated with German-based Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes International, a global network of organizations that share the same mission: to enhance, protect, restore and rehabilitate freshwater areas around the globe.
Living Lakes Canada has 27 years of experience in community engagement and 14 of those years have been specifically dedicated to water stewardship. One of our successful lake stewardship templates has inspired over 13 other lake and community stewardship groups to become organized entities for engaged and applied stewardship. Our best practices have been shared with 30 monitoring groups.
We bridge the gap between science and action to foster citizen-based water stewardship. Our mandate is to help Canadians understand the intimate connections between water quantity, water quality, land use, climate change, biodiversity, and healthy communities through watershed stewardship. LLC provides a strategic and unique opportunity to apply consistently standardized monitoring protocols so that we can compare watershed health and collaborate to protect freshwater across Canada.
In 2015, We completed a national scan of community-based monitoring (CBM) in Canada in partnership with Simon Fraser University and the University of Acadia. The scan indicated that despite challenges such as lack of standardized protocols; easily accessible, transparent data hubs; the ability to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge; and data analysis to applied policy; and funding, community-based monitoring (CBM) projects have tripled across Canada since 2002. In 2018 we completed an updated survey with World Wildlife Fund and the Gordon Foundation, which has demonstrated that CBM water groups do want a national round table to increase federal policy support for CBM, in which the initial conversation was co-hosted in Ottawa by LLC in November 2018.
LLC has partnered with the BC government to monitor groundwater and to educate communities regarding groundwater management by actively involving volunteers in baseline groundwater data collection. This data is analyzed by a team of researchers and translated into a succinct and readable report that can be presented to decision-makers to guide them in land use and water planning for sustainable and water smart communities.
In 2021, we hosted a very successful Water Data Hub conference, bringing together stakeholders and best practice examples from across North America to discuss a framework and data hub for water monitoring in the Columbia Basin. LLC is now leading the organization of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Initiative as follow up to this conference.
In early February 2019, LLC’s partnership for a national freshwater community-based monitoring program using environmental DNA (eDNA) with Environment and Climate Change Canada, University of Guelph and World Wildlife – Fund was announced. The STREAM project (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment & Monitoring) will train communities across the country in collecting benthics for biodiversity data to determine water quality.
Although the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic paused the STREAM project in 2020, with only a number of closed CABIN trainings on offer, in 2021 a number of trainings went ahead across Canada: from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Kenora, Thunder Bay, Ontario to the Yukon and back to Ottawa. DNA collected using the STREAM protocol was sent to the University of Guelph for analysis. Further trainings across Canada are planned for 2022, building on the success of 2021.
Living Lakes Canada trains citizen scientists in community-based monitoring because citizens are concerned and want to ensure that their lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds remain healthy and that their communities are climate resilient. Citizens want to be involved in the decisions that affect their local watersheds including source water protection, drinking water quality, resource development and sustainable water and land use.
Indigenous communities have been monitoring or “watching the land and water” for generations by collecting observations combined with Indigenous knowledge passed on from Elders. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community-based water monitoring present enormous and cost-effective opportunities to empower communities to work collaboratively with governments, academia and industry for holistic water management.
If you or your organization are interested in community- based water monitoring training please see the list of workshops Living Lakes Canada is hosting and collaborating on or contact us at [email protected]